Executives from the telecom giant T-Mobile — which last year asked the Trump administration to approve its megamerger with Sprint — have booked at least 52 nights at President Trump’s hotel in the District since then, even more than previously reported, according to newly obtained records from the hotel.
The revelations come as political scrutiny of the proposed deal is mounting on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) issued letters demanding information about the T-Mobile executives’ stays and whether Trump was informed of them. The issue is likely to come up at House subcommittee hearings on the merger next week.
Last month, The Washington Post reported that “VIP Arrivals” lists — issued by the Trump International Hotel daily to its staff — indicated that T-Mobile executives had stayed repeatedly at Trump’s hotel. On the day after the merger was announced, for instance, the lists showed nine T-Mobile executives were expected to check in.
Now, The Post has obtained VIP arrivals lists for additional days last year, which showed five more bookings at the hotel by T-Mobile executives, including chief executive John Legere. Those bookings — in October and December of last year — added 14 nights to the 38 previously reported.
In addition, another Trump hotel document gave the first indication of the rates that T-Mobile executives paid for their rooms.
This document showed that when Legere stayed at Trump’s hotel for two nights last month, his room had a rate of $2,246 per night.
Neither T-Mobile nor Legere responded to requests for comment Wednesday about these new records. The Trump Organization and the White House also did not respond.
Trump still owns the hotel, although he has handed day-to-day control over to his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Asked about the stays by Legere and other executives last month, Eric Trump said the hotel has no role in politics. It offers extraordinary service, he said, and “it should come as no surprise that a CEO of a major corporation would want to stay with us.”
During the January visit by Legere, a Post reporter approached the T-Mobile CEO in the Trump hotel’s lobby. Legere said then he’d chosen the hotel because it was comfortable, secure and convenient.
Was he seeking to influence the Trump administration’s decision about the merger? “Certainly not,” Legere said.
T-Mobile was already facing scrutiny from congressional Democrats about its executives’ use of the Trump hotel after The Post’s initial story on the executives’ visits.In a pair of letters sent Wednesday, Warren — a 2020 presidential contender — and Jayapal wrote separately to Trump Organization officials and Legere asking how Legere and other executives came to book the hotel stay just after the merger was announced.
The two Democrats asked whether any Trump administration officials were involved in the hotel bookings, also requesting a full accounting of T-Mobile’s spending at the property.
The transactions “raise questions about whether T-Mobile is attempting to curry favor with the President through the Trump Organization and exacerbate our concerns about the President’s continued financial relationship with the Trump Organization,” the lawmakers wrote.
The Democrats asked for details about the VIP lists and whether the company provided any copies “to the President, White House officials or any other administration officials.”
They also ask if T-Mobile consulted with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has advised T-Mobile on the merger.
They asked for answers by Feb. 20. T-Mobile’s fourth-quarter earnings call is scheduled for Thursday, and two House subcommittees are set to examine the merger at hearings next week. Legere is scheduled to appear and could be questioned there about the Trump hotel stays by Jayapal, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
The letters add to the lines of inquiry opening into the president’s business, which congressional aides say will be the target of investigations from more than a half dozen House committees and subcommittees.
T-Mobile, the country’s third-largest wireless carrier, has repeatedly sought to grow by merging with rivals. But in 2011 and 2014, its plans were shot down by the Obama administration — which objected on antitrust grounds, believing that the merger would harm customers by decreasing competition.
Last year, the company announced its third merger attempt, with fourth-place Sprint.
In documents and testimony related to the latest merger attempt, T-Mobile has argued that combining with Sprint would allow it to lower prices and more quickly expand a 4G data network.
If it is approved, the merger would give T-Mobile a far larger share of the U.S. market, and it could make millions for company executives.
What it needs now is approval from the Justice Department, which enforces antitrust laws, and from the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates cellphone airwaves. Neither of those agencies has made a ruling in this case.
Legere — T-Mobile’s exuberant, longhair chief executive — had not always been a fan of President Trump, or his hotels. In 2015, before Trump ran for office, Legere got into a Twitter spat with the future president that began with a complaint about Legere’s experience at Trump’s hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Trump fired back. Legere said he was leaving the Trump hotel, and then mocked Trump when he was gone.
“I am so happy to wake up in a hotel where every single item isn’t labeled ‘Trump,’ ” he wrote, according to news coverage. Those tweets appear to have been deleted.
Since T-Mobile’s merger was announced, Legere appears to have made at least four visits to Trump’s hotel in Washington, according to the VIP arrivals lists. Because The Post’s data is incomplete, the actual number could be higher.