One of the U.S. State Department’s official government websites now has a page on it advertising President Donald Trump’s private, for-profit luxury resort.
It was pointed out on Twitter today that the website for the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom now includes a page about Mar-a-Lago, which is referred to as the “winter White House.”
“Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Florida estate, has become well known as the president frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders,” the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom’s webpage reads.
This then links to a page on Share America, a website that is run by the United States Department of State. Share America’s goal is to be a “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,” according to its About Us section.
Share America’s page on Mar-a-Lago advertises the resort as a place where the president meets with important foreign leaders and conducts business.
“Trump is not the first president to have access to Mar-a-Lago as a Florida retreat, but he is the first one to use it,” the page reads.
The remainder of the page goes into the history of Mar-a-Lago, talking about the building being built in 1927 and then being purchased by Donald Trump in 1985.
The presence of both of these pages on official government websites raised concerns about the president of the United States using his platform to benefit his own personal business. Both of the webpages actually went online earlier this month, but it was only this week that they were noticed.
Joining Mar-a-Lago as a member costs $200,000. That’s the initiation fee, and it doubled in price after Donald Trump won the election. On top of the initiation fee, it costs $14,000 to remain a member of Mar-a-Lago, according to CNBC.
When ShareAmerica, the government website on which this post about Mar-a-Lago originated, launched in 2014, it was described as the State Department’s version of Upworthy. It’s full of web-optimized content that is meant to promote American values in a way that will generate likes and shares on social media.
“Share America is an effort to take the issues that the United States cares about, and present them in ways that people will find interesting and in turn share through their networks,” Macon Phillips, head of the the Bureau of International Information Programs at the State Department, told The Washington Post in 2014. “As I’ve traveled around to posts all over the world, one thing is clear: We use our social presences as the main way we publish information for audiences in those countries. And so we want to create and publish information that we can provide to our colleagues in the field through their own social network and to allies around the world who share our interests.”