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Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 11:22 AM
The State Department is using official web pages and social media to publicize the history of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, prompting one Democratic Senator to publicly ask why taxpayer money is being used to promote a private club run by Mr. Trump.
"Here's the full post in its kleptocratic glory," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote on Twitter, as he said he would like to know more about why Mar-a-Lago is getting publicity from the U.S. Government on Facebook, the website of the U.S. Embassy in London, and more.
"Mar-a-Lago: The winter White House," is the title of the article, which was written earlier in April, but was circulated on social media in recent days.
"Don’t be surprised if next the FDA gives a 5 star review to the chocolate cake at Mar-A-Lago," Wyden cracked on Twitter.
"Why are taxpayer dollars promoting the President's private country club?" Wyden asked.
It didn't take long for the story to be found on the pages of other American Embassy sites as well.
The story was written by Share America, which is a State Department unit that promotes various stories from the United States - described as the "Department of State’s platform for 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."
Ethics experts who have been critical of President Trump over business conflicts seized on these Mar-a-Lago reviews as well.
"Use of public office for private gain pure and simple," said Richard Painter, a top White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
"This is posted on State Department central site for all embassies to use," said Norm Eisen, who has led legal efforts against Mr. Trump. "Unbelievable," Eisen added on Twitter.
The article sets out the history of Mar-a-Lago, how the federal government came into possession of the property, and then how Mr. Trump bought it in 1985.