Kuwait’s ambassador denies pressure to book event at Trump hotel


Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S. says his embassy didn’t feel any pressure to move an event to President-elect Donald Trump’s new hotel in Washington.

Reports Monday said the Embassy of Kuwait reportedly switched venues from a Four Seasons hotel after pressure from members of the Trump Organization. But Ambassador Salem al-Sabah is dismissing those claims.


“Nobody contacted me,” he told The Washington Post in a Tuesday interview. “Nobody pressured me at all. I do not know President-elect Trump. Or his people.”

“We have been holding the event at the Four Seasons for years,” he added. “There is a new hotel in town, and we thought we would give it a try.

“I heard some positive feedback from those who attended events there. It was solely done with the intention of providing our guests with a new venue.”

Sabah said he asked the Four Seasons to reserve time for the Kuwaiti Embassy’s upcoming National Day event, which they have held at that hotel before. The diplomat insisted, however, that he did not have a formal contract there before settling on Trump’s hotel.

“[It is] totally wrong and totally false,” he said of reports otherwise. “[It] had nothing to do with anything else other than creating an exciting event for our guests.”

The reports Monday said Kuwait’s Embassy abruptly cancelled a reservation with D.C.’s Four Seasons hotel for alternate arrangements at Trump International Hotel.

ThinkProgress, a blog connected to the liberal-leaning Centers for American Progress, first reported the news. The site said a source knowledgeable of the arrangements between the embassy and the hotels had confirmed the plans. ThinkProgress said it also reviewed documentary evidence confirming the source’s report.

The move comes amid scrutiny over how Trump will separate his business dealings from his work as president.

Some foreign diplomats have said they see a stay at Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue hotel as a chance to curry favor with the president-elect.

Critics say the hotel, along with other facets of Trump’s business empire, pose a conflict of interest.

Tags D.C. Diplomacy Donald Trump embassy hotels Kuwait Politics Washington

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