House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) knows his audience: During an interview on Fox & Friends (one of President Donald Trump’s favorite TV shows), he took some time to shout out Trump’s local hotel.
Ryan guided Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt to the top of Capitol Hill, overlooking much of the Washington, DC, area.
“This is the coolest view in town, because we’re up here on top of Capitol Hill. And you basically can see everything from here,” Ryan said. “And see, Washington Monument is the tallest thing. But you see the second tallest structure here in Washington, that tower? You know what that is? That’s the Trump Hotel.”
He added, “When I brought the president and the first lady out here to show them the view, he said, ‘Hey, that’s my hotel.’ Yeah. It’s pretty cool.’”
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, is mired in its own controversies. As ThinkProgress noted, unlike past presidents, Trump refused to fully divest his business interests once he took office. DC’s Trump Hotel, which opened in 2016, is even leased from the federal government — which, as CNN put it, “effectively gives the tenant control of the landlord.”
Still, Trump probably appreciated the nod. The president reportedly watches a lot of TV, taking time on most mornings — during what his schedule calls “executive time” — to watch cable news and take phone calls before making it into the Oval Office at 11 am.
Trump’s advisers and allies picked up on his TV-watching tendencies quite quickly, with a Washington Post report in April 2017 noting that many of them were going on TV in an attempt to speak directly to the president:
Some White House officials — who early on would appear on TV to emphasize points to their boss, who was likely to be watching just steps away in his residence — have started tuning into Fox News’ ‘‘Fox & Friends’’ because they know the president habitually clicks it on after waking near dawn.
This is the context of Ryan’s comments. It’s possible he really does like the gorgeous view of Washington, DC, and really is impressed by how big the Trump Hotel is. But it’s also possible he was throwing a little compliment at the president that he knew Trump would hear.