“On October 26, 2016—less than two weeks to election day—travel writer Zach Everson covered the ribbon cutting at the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the White House. Everson frequently covered hotel openings, which often featured lavish food spreads and “the owners sipping champagne with a few travel writers.” But this one was different. A horde of political reporters trailed Donald and Ivanka Trump as they toured the hotel. “The political reporters were amazed they had complimentary pastries,” Everson said in an interview. 1 A couple months later, Everson got an assignment from Condé Nast Traveller to cover the growing political and social scene at the hotel. In the course of researching that story, Everson booked a night at the hotel. One of his fellow guests told Everson he was about to leave for a restaurant outside the hotel, when he noticed workers polishing the banisters and the manager nervously pacing. The guest concluded, correctly, that the president was on his way, cancelled his outside reservation, and ate at the hotel instead. To track presidential comings and goings for his story, Everson started monitoring social media feeds. And he noticed something: not even a year into Trump’s presidency, the hotel had become a unique locale in Washington. “It became like Melville’s white whale,” Everson said. “If you want it to be your opportunity and a place for you to go and rub elbows with the President, it’s that. If you’re a lobbyist or a businessman or a foreign leader and want to portray you are close to the president, it’s that too. It’s everything you hate or love about Donald Trump.” Everson quit travel writing to cover, full time, the Trump International Hotel. He began publishing a newsletter, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue. He had plenty of material.”
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