Media Falsely Accuses President Trump of Visiting His DC Hotel to Attend Kuwait Party

President Donald Trump went for dinner Saturday night at his Trump International Hotel a few blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue and was promptly falsely accused by the media of attending a Kuwaiti Embassy party at the hotel that actually took place several days before.

Trump was joined for dinner by Florida Governor Rick Scott, Nigel Farage, daughter Ivanka and her husband/Trump presidential adviser Jared Kushner.

The Independent Journal Review’s Benny Johnson was the reporter who happened to be dining at the right place at the right time and posted reports, including a quickie interview with Trump.

The press pool was held in a van outside the hotel and was not allowed inside the hotel.

Think Progress’ Judd Legum led a media lynch mob falsely accusing Trump of going to the hotel tonight on the same night that the Embassy of Kuwait was hosting a National Day celebration there. It turns out the Kuwait event was held Wednesday, as will unfold below, but no one in the mainstream media publicly reported on the event at the time.

Reuters and NPR published reports Saturday that the Kuwait event was being held Saturday night at the Trump hotel, which reporters then teed off on Trump about without verifying.

The Kuwaiti government could pay up to $60,000 to President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington for a party on Saturday that will be an early test of Trump’s promise to turn over profits from such events to the U.S. Treasury.

The Kuwait Embassy is hosting an event to mark their National Day. Similar National Day celebrations at the Trump International Hotel for a crowd of several hundred can run from $40,000 to $60,000, according to cost estimates from the hotel seen by Reuters. The hotel declined to comment on the figures.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Sheri Dillon, pledged at a Jan. 11 press conference to donate any Trump Hotel profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.

This matters because the media is trying to hang charges of Trump violating the Emoluments Clause of the constitution by running a D.C. hotel that will take payments from foreign governments, even though he has pledged to donate any such profits to the Treasury. Reporters were accusing Trump of ‘blessing’ the event with his visit to the hotel even if he did not attend the event itself.

In a twist, it was a CNN reporter, Kate Bennett, who attended the Kuwait event at the Trump hotel on Wednesday who rose to Trump’s defense of the charge of visiting the hotel at the same time as the Kuwait event. Bennett posted a copy of the invitation with Wednesday’s date as proof.

Bennett did not report publicly on the Kuwait event at the time, saving her report for an obscure CNN email newsletter, Cover Line. The only public report on the Kuwait event was a photo posted the night of the event to Twitter by ‘Hollywood on the Potomac’. Bennett added that Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended the Kuwait event.

‘Blue check mark’ reporters soon announced they were deleting false accusatory comments.

Judd Legum Editor, Think Progress: 11. Going to delete the rest of this thread to avoid spreading misinformation. Kuwait event still an illegal emolument”

Legum deleted five tweets from a twelve tweet stream that contained “misinformation”. Previously Legum had claimed Kuwait was holding the event at the Trump hotel due to “political pressure” which Kuwait denies according to NPR.

Philip Rucker, White House Bureau Chief, Washington Post: “I deleted my tweet about Kuwait party at Trump hotel because it’s unclear whether reported event is taking place. Kuwait had a party on Wed.”

Rucker’s original tweet read, “Trump is having dinner at the Trump International Hotel–the same night the Kuwait government rented out space there for an event.”

Sam Stein, Senior Politics Editor, Huffington Post: “I’m erasing that last tweet about Trump and the Kuwait party at his hotel cuz it appears that party was Wednesday”

Pro Publica: “We’ve deleted this tweet. Kuwait did pay for a party at the Trump Hotel, but outlets mistakenly reported event was today. It was Wed.”

Jeremy Venook, Editorial Fellow, The Atlantic: “(Just deleted two tweets w/inaccurate info that Kuwaiti event at Trump Hotel was tonight—it was held on Wednesday night)”

Brendan Nyhan, contributor to UpshotNYT – New York Times: “Correction: I tweeted Trump visiting his hotel on night of a Kuwaiti reception. Based on Reuters report. Appears to be false. Do not RT.”

Alex Howard, Deputy Director, Sunlight Foundation: “Correction: I tweeted Trump visiting his hotel on night of a Kuwaiti reception. Based on Reuters report. Appears to be false. Do not RT.”

Laurence Tribe, media commentator and Harvard Law professor: “Correction: Trump didn’t give the Constitution the finger 🖕🏼 until 3 nights AFTER pocketing the illegal Emolument from Kuwait. So?”

UPDATE: NPR posted a correction: “#Kuwait National Day is Feb. 25. It was celebrated this yr at #Trump DC Hotel but event was held on Wed. No overlap with @POTUS visit on Sat”

In closing, a few photos posted by diners from this evening:

“Was just having dinner at Trump Hotel restaurant and guess who showed up @realDonaldTrump @Nigel_Farage @IvankaTrump”

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