It turns out the first lady’s multicountry tour of Africa was pretty pricey, though her spokesperson has pushed back on reports of how the money was spent.
A federal spending report shows that the State Department paid the Semiramis Intercontinental Cairo $95,000 for Melania Trump’s visit to Egypt last month, as Quartz first reported. Despite the steep hotel bill, Trump’s director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, pointed out on Twitter that FLOTUS didn’t spend the night in Cairo, as multiple outlets have claimed.
“This is an example of irresponsible journalism,” Grisham tweeted Thursday.
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) November 2, 2018
Hi @qz – the First Lady did not stay the night in Cairo. This is an example of irresponsible journalism & had someone (@JustinRohrlich ) fact checked things w me, this could have been avoided. https://t.co/cbpfg5PUj2
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) November 1, 2018
Trump spent just six hours in the city, Grisham told Quartz, yet the financial report indicates that the government paid the Cairo hotel nearly $100,000. The report description reads “FLOTUS visit hotel rooms” and indicates that the bill was paid Sept. 30 — roughly a week before Trump landed in Cairo.
The presidential suite at the Semiramis Intercontinental Cairo is listed for up to $550 per night, depending on the day, and the hotel’s website says the property features a rooftop pool, “stunning views” of the sunset over the Nile, and “fine dining with exquisite cuisine.”
Grisham didn’t dispute the $95,000 bill, only that Trump spent the night at the Semiramis Intercontinental Cairo. It’s possible that rooms were reserved ahead of time and not used, but because it would take reserving more than 170 rooms to rack up $95,000 in charges, the tab most likely includes the first lady’s Secret Service detail.
During the course of her first solo trip, Trump was also criticized for wearing what looked like a colonial-style pith helmet in Kenya and called out for visiting programs funded by the United States Agency for International Development as the White House moved to slash its foreign aid budget.
“I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear,” Trump told reporters in Cairo on the that cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 in hotel bills.
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