This story has been updated.
Every time Donald Trump holds an event at his new Washington hotel they’ve been there.
Out front. With signs. And sometimes a bullhorn.
Protesters have not allowed the presidential candidate to peacefully promote the Old Post Office project or his candidacy there, despite the federal government giving Trump’s company unusual leeway over the property outside his $212 million hotel.
Wednesday morning will be no different, as Trump plans to hold a grand opening celebration at the hotel and two anti-Trump groups have applied for sidewalk permits to protest two weeks before the election.
In the past, Trump Organization officials have either ignored the noise out front or stationed a security guard at the front of the hotel, located in the Old Post Office pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue.
But this time Trump hatched a unique plan top keep opponents away from his event. A subsidiary of Trump’s company applied for its own public space permit for Wednesday morning, which could have given the magnate some control of the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue and possibly forced protesters across the street.
Trump Old Post Office LLC, which leases the building from the federal government, applied for a permit to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the sidewalk Wednesday. The company requested space for 300 people, 200 chairs and 30 camera tripods.
Permits are typically issued on a first-come, first-serve basis and different groups are sometimes given different sections of space on the sidewalk or street.
For Wednesday’s event, Trump was second in line in terms of requests, but late Tuesday withdrew its request. Permits went to the local chapter of the AFL-CIO, which received permission to form a picket line to support workers at a Trump hotel in Las Vegas, similar to a previous event the group held recently.
Joining the union will be the ANSWER Coalition, which protested all day last month when the hotel first opened for business. Its application calls for a “Demonstration Calling to Stop the Trump Agenda; Say No to Trump’s Racism; Defend Immigrants and Muslims,” according to the group’s application.
Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the agency conferred with the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the candidate.
The Trump Organization declined to comment. Last week the company sent invitations saying “the Trump family will host an official ribbon cutting ceremony and opening press conference.”
First Amendment advocates and Trump foes, however, didn’t take kindly to the idea that Trump might be relying on taxpayer-funded security to bar opposing views out front of a publicly owned building.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer who frequently argues on behalf of First Amendment rights, worried that Trump might use the Secret Service to keep protesters at bay, and “sanitize their event from the reality of public dissent.”
Carlos Jimenez, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, said his group will be supporting workers at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas who are seeking a new labor deal.
“We’re going to be there all morning and I think we’re just going to have folks in a picket line in support of the 500 workers in Vegas who are asking Mr. Trump to come back to the bargaining table,” he said.
Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz