State Dept. Blog Promoting Trump's Club Makes Waves

Blog post appears to be promoting Mar-a-Lago
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 4:53 PM CDT
State Dept. Blog Promoting Mar-a-Lago Makes Waves
In this Monday, April 3, 2017 photo, is the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A State Department blog post is making waves—because it appears to be promoting Mar-a-Lago, the private Florida club President Trump owns. The post was published April 4, but gained attention Monday after people realized it had been shared on the US Embassy in London's website, and started making headlines particularly after Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden tweeted criticizing it, the AP reports. It originated on the Share America website, a State Dept. project whose stated mission is "sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society."

NPR notes that the blog post makes no mention of policy, but does feature "photos of the members-only club's opulent rooms and exterior." CNN calls the blog post, which refers to Mar-a-Lago as the winter White House, "markedly promotional" and says it could "eventually benefit Trump's bottom line." Other Democrats have since criticized it, and some ethics watchdogs are concerned. President Obama's chief ethics attorney called the promotion "exploitation," comparing it to Kellyanne Conway's promotion of Ivanka Trump's fashion line. Even one of President George W. Bush's ethics advisers called the post "use of public office for private gain pure and simple." The State Department has yet to make an official comment on the controversy. (More State Department stories.)

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