Donald Trump Can’t Stay In His Own Hotels As President
Like many things stamped “Trump”, the family’s luxury hotel in Las Vegas isn’t for everyone. Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump explained as much when he framed the complex’s lack of a gaming license as a mark of distinction: “We wanted a true luxury resort experience. It’s hard to have a high-quality product when you walk into ‘ding, ding, ding’ and there are people walking around in Hawaiian shirts with big plastic drink mugs.”
As it turns out, federal employees won’t be staying, either. While federal employees can stay at one of six Best Westerns, or even the Bellagio, the Trump Hotel Las Vegas and a number of his other properties are not on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s list of motels and hotels approved for federal travel.
Under the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990, FEMA generates a master list of 47,000 accommodations that are approved for federal government employees to stay while on official travel. In order to make the list, establishments must have smoke alarms in every guest room, sprinkler systems in every guest room in buildings taller than three stories, and most notably, businesses must “have voluntarily registered” for the right to be considered.
Ironically, there are more closed Trump hotels on the FEMA list than open ones. While three of Trump’s failed Atlantic City endeavors have yet to be removed from the list, his Chicago and Miami hotels are the only Trump holdings that are both permissible lodging for federal employees, and not financially ruined. (New York, Vegas, Waikiki, and perhaps most ironically, Washington D.C., all host Trump hotels where federal employees cannot stay.)
It’s not unusual for hotels to skip the process altogether. If your establishment has fifteen rooms or less, it is not eligible. Of the 6,671 qualifying hotels on Texas’ official occupancy tax register, only 3,944 Texas locations are on the FEMA master list. Indeed, the Trump hotel is out of the federal government’s league: the daily per-diem allowance for federal employees staying in Las Vegas in tourist season is $108 and rooms at the Trump hotel in the same period start at $280 dollars, pre-tax.
So, even though Donald Trump owns a penthouse on the 61st floor of his 64-story development, a President Trump will need to tuck his staff and secret service retinue into a federally-friendly establishment.
As an alternative, he could choose President Barack Obama’s preferred 2012 spot, the eco-friendly Element, situated 13 miles off the strip. But if that smells a bit too progressive, there’s always the FEMA-approved Super 8, conveniently located just minutes from the airport.