Politics: DC inspection finds Trump Hotel in compliance with coronavirus rules

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An Investigator for the city of Washington inspected the Trump International Hotel on Wednesday and found it in compliance with the district's coronavirus regulations days after President Donald Trump was seen in the lobby without a mask. , in an apparent violation of Mayor Muriel Bowser's order mandating them.

a sign on the side of a building: Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington on Sept. 12, 2016. © Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington on Sept. 12, 2016.

"During the inspection, guests and staff were observed to be wearing face masks and coverings in compliance with the Mayor’s Order," Jared Powell, a spokesman for the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

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Two days before the inspection, Trump attended a Republican Party fundraiser at the hotel. Video shared on social media showed the president and several top Republicans –including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – gathered in the lobby without masks.

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There they greeted Madison Cawthorn, who recently won a primary upset in North Carolina in the race to fill the House seat left vacant by Meadows. Cawthorn was also without a mask in the video.

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A post shared by Madison Cawthorn (@madisoncawthorn) on Jul 20, 2020 at 6:42pm PDT

Some of those clustered around Cawthorn were wearing masks, while others were not. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was wearing a mask, shook Cawthorn's hand in greeting.

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"You can touch me," Giuliani said, extending his hand. He continued to speak but the rest of what he said was indiscernible over the other voices.

Hours before the event, Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask.

"We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!" he wrote.

ABC News reported that guests not wearing masks was a regular occurrence at the Trump International Hotel. One example cited was an invitation posted on Facebook for a "NO MASKS ALLOWED" birthday party.

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Bowser's order requires all businesses permitted to open to require their employees, customers, visitors and guests to wear masks. People without masks are supposed to be denied entry. On Wednesday, she expanded the mandate to require outdoor use when people are likely to come in contact with others.

Though Trump and others were clearly seen without masks Powell told USA TODAY that ABRA only issues reports "when violations are observed in person by an investigator."

"ABRA will continue to monitor the establishment for compliance," Powell said.

ABRA inspected the hotel for possible Phase Two violations, which carry fines of up to $2,000. Repeat offenders are sent before the Alchohol Beverage Control Board for review.

Patricia Tang, sales and marketing director for the Trump International Hotel, told USA TODAY there was nothing unusual about the inspection.

"We were inspected just like every other establishment in the city. And we comply with all laws and regulations, as the report indicated," said Tang.

Tang referred USA TODAY to the city of Washington when asked if Trump's maskless appearance might have prompted the inspection, adding the property is not treated differently than any other hotel in the city.

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Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump organization and the president's second son, said in response to a CNN report on the inspection, "Very proud of our amazing team – you are constantly harassed but you ALWAYS win and come out on top! Great job!"

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee told The Washington Post, which first reported the story, that people attending the fundraiser had to be tested for COVID-19 the same day, have their temperature taken and answer a wellness questionnaire.

The president rarely wears a mask in public, explaining he is tested constantly for the disease. But he recently donned one during a visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center and has started to more ardently endorse their use.

"We're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask," Trump said Tuesday. "Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they'll have an effect. We need everything we can get."

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During an appearance on Fox News Wednesday, "America’s Newsroom" host Martha MacCallum asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway why Trump did not advocate their use two months ago, "when it might have made even more of a difference."

"We have these studies now that prove what we suspected: which is that masks help prevent you from spreading it," Conway said. But while medical experts were not initially united in calling for the use of masks, by April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance to recommend their use.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DC inspection finds Trump Hotel in compliance with coronavirus rules

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