Trump Speaks at Grand Opening of DC Hotel

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Donald Trump mixed business and politics on a visit to Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning for the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel.

Trump spoke about the luxury hotel he said was completed under budget and ahead of schedule and then pivoted to comments on politics. 

"Today's a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country," he said. 

Speaking in an introduction, Ivanka Trump thanked Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton for her support of the Pennsylvania Avenue hotel project.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who attended the grand opening of the hotel, was notably absent on Wednesday. 

"I don't want to be involved in Donald Trump politics," she told reporters at an event elsewhere in the District.

Bowser said she wants the luxury hotel to benefit the city. 

"We also want to make sure that they're paying their fair share of taxes. I always root for D.C. businesses being successful," she said. 

Hundreds of protesters that included individuals, organized labor groups and anti-war activists demonstrated outside the hotel with signs, drums and flags. Trump supporters also had a presence outside.

Protesters briefly blocked a side entrance to the hotel. U.S. Park Police let protesters stay close to the hotel, though their location was in violation of their permit.

The Trump campaign defended the decision to spend precious campaign time promoting his business as his poll numbers sink.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway argued that Trump's stops at his properties highlight his business experience, and that Hillary Clinton also took time off.

"Hillary Clinton took five days off to prepare for one debate and everyone looked at that as some kind of noble exercise," she said on the "Today" show. "He's got the most active campaign sked of the two candidates by far."

Trump visited his Trump National Doral golf course in Florida on Tuesday.

The hotel, which opened for business in September, already has been the subject of controversy. Protesters have demonstrated outside the building and graffiti was found sprayed on a wall.

Bowser, who is a Democrat and supports Hillary Clinton for president, has previously spoken out about Trump.

In a July interview with News4’s Tom Sherwood on WTOP radio, Bowser called Trump’s statements on immigration “idiotic.”

She said that while the hotel would be important for the economy, she hoped Trump would apologize for his comments.

In September, Bowser criticized Trump for insulting Washington at the second presidential debate. 

"Smh at DT who comes to DC for profit on the 1 hand, badmouths it on the other. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but here are the facts," she wrote on Twitter, using the abbreviation for "shaking my head."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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