Protesters Project Trump's Ties 'From Russia to Saudi Arabia' Onto His D.C. Hotel: 'U.S. Foreign Policy Bought and Sold Here'

Activists have quite literally shone a light on President Donald Trump's ties to countries with autocratic leaders in a demonstration that saw statements about the president's connections with heads of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines projected onto his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

"U.S. foreign policy bought and sold here," one such message projected onto the front of the hotel on Wednesday evening read.

Related: Protesters project "guilty," "criminal" onto Trump D.C. hotel

"Trump boasts that Russians are one of his key clients," another projection stated.

"Saudia Arabia booked 500 rooms here to lobby the U.S.," another said, with images of Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman projected on each side of the statement.

In an emailed statement, Global Witness spokesperson Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck said the activist group was "projecting onto the Trump International Hotel in D.C. to shine a light on how Trump's problematic foreign policy decisions are guided by his own economic interests."

"We've seen alarming cases where he praises autocratic leaders—like [Russian President Vladimir Putin] or [Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte]—or refuses to condemn regimes implicated in murders, such as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi Crown Prince's involvement," said Miranda-Brobeck.

"Trump has boasted that Saudis and Russians are his top clients—and records show that Mohammed bin Salman spent millions this year at the Trump Hotel in New York City, boosting their slumping revenues by 13 percent," she said, adding that "shortly following Trump's election, Saudi Arabia also booked 500 rooms at the Trump International Hotel in DC for a campaign to lobby the U.S. government."

The Global Witness group said it should come as "no surprise" then that Trump has refused to condemn the Saudi Crown Prince over Khashoggi's murder.

"Instead he undermines and denies evidence presented to him by his own intelligence agencies about the Crown Prince's link to the murder," Global Witness said in its press release.

The group noted that Trump has repeatedly praised "iron-fisted autocratic leaders" including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Russia's Vladimir Putin and the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte.

"These leaders come from countries where he has ongoing, lucrative business deals, or are from countries that are his top clients," Global Witness said.

The demonstration comes as Trump continues to face widespread criticisms over his ties to the Saudi crown prince, Putin and Duterte.

The U.S. leader's ties with Russia are also under the microscope as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia.

Earlier this year, in August, the words "guilty" and "criminal" were projected onto the entrance of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., after Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to charges, including campaign finance violations, while his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight charges of bank and tax fraud, as well as failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

On Wednesday, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging payments during the 2016 election to silence women alleged to have had affairs with Trump.

Global Witness said that with the focus on Mueller's probe, "Trump's foreign deals are again in the spotlight."

"It's time for all of us to say enough is enough," Miranda-Brobeck said. "The president should not be benefiting the interests of his businesses while in office."

The Global Witness spokesperson called for Congress to "pass a comprehensive conflicts of interest law that prevents any U.S. President from pursuing private business while in office."

"Otherwise, how can we be sure the President is working in the interest of the American public?" she said.

NMP_0567-2
Activists projected statements highlighting President Donald Trump’s ties to foreign autocrats onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on December 12. Global Witness
Protesters Project Trump's Ties 'From Russia to Saudi Arabia' Onto His D.C. Hotel: 'U.S. Foreign Policy Bought and Sold Here' | U.S.