WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hopes to be on Pennsylvania Avenue for Inauguration Day, but he’s headed there Wednesday, less than two weeks before the election, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his new Trump International Hotel.
It’s billed as a business trip, but the security is Secret Service-tight at the Old Post Office building; the ceremony is being held in the Presidential Ballroom, and one of the major themes of the signage, and repeated by son Eric Trump to a TV crew, is “under budget, ahead of schedule,” a reference to the business prowess Trump claims he would bring to the presidency.
The Trump Organization won a 60-year lease from the federal government to turn the building into a luxury hotel. It had what’s known as a soft opening last month.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker looked into the truth of the “under budget, ahead of schedule” claim and found the issue too murky to make a declaration one way or the other.
The ceremony is also expected to draw protesters to Pennsylvania Avenue, upset with remarks Trump has made on the campaign trail about Muslims, Hispanics and women.
One person who won’t be there is D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. She joined Trump for the groundbreaking ceremony, held before Trump announced his candidacy, but won’t attend the grand opening.
Once Trump launched his campaign, Bowser distanced himself from him, calling his statements about Mexican immigrants “idiotic.”
Instead of the grand opening, Bowser, a Democrat, will attend a ceremony marking the transfer of the Army’s former Walter Reed campus to the city, which will be redeveloping the property with a mix of housing and retail.
Trump will speak at the ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m.
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.