Trump sons' expansion of mid-market hotel chain ‘has nothing to do with politics’

The Trumps announced the move at an event on Monday.

ByABC News
June 6, 2017, 7:30 AM

— -- The Trump Organization has announced plans to expand its signature hotel chain with mid-market properties it's calling the American Idea.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump – who took over management of the Trump Organization from their father, President Trump -- announced the move at an event for industry executives at Trump Tower on Monday.

Prior to the announcement, in an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief National Correspondent Tom Llamas, the brothers credited the expansion to their experience traveling the country with their father's campaign.

"I mean, trust me, between Eric [and] myself, we stayed in every one of these hotels in every little market in the country," Donald Trump Jr. said. "And we just saw there, there was a void missing. And I think we're excited to try to fill it."

The Trump Organization has Trump-branded hotels in major cities across the country and parts of the world. But neither of the two new hotel lines the brothers announced in New York Monday will have “Trump” in their name.

In addition to the new American Idea line, the company revealed the location of its first upper-tier Scion hotel, which will be in Cleveland, Mississippi. That brand, first announced last year, will feature "approximately 100 rooms, suites and extended-stay accommodations, a 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, a 5,000-square-foot event hall" and other amenities, according to a news release from the organization.

"This is real America," Eric Trump said. "And to be able to go in there and cater to them as well; I think that's a beautiful thing."

The brothers dismissed the idea that the hotel chain expansion could put a further spotlight on their father's continued influence in the business, and whether it amounts to making money from politics. The announcement of the expansion comes as the two brothers deepen their involvement with the Republican National Committee before the 2018 midterm elections, and continue to support their father's already up-and-running 2020 re-election campaign.

Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and his wife Lara huddled with GOP leaders at the RNC in Washington D.C., in late May to discuss strategy, and Donald Jr. has even campaigned for candidates in special election races including Montana's Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte. The headquarters of Trump's re-election campaign are stationed in Trump Tower just floors below the son's Trump Organization offices.

"It has nothing to do with politics," Donald Trump Jr. said of the new hotel line. "We're trying to make money off of a hotel brand that we feel there's an underserved market to. I think more companies could probably do better by being a little bit more patriotic."

In a Forbes interview earlier this year, Eric Trump said he would update his father with profit reports from the company "probably quarterly," though when asked by ABC News, he defended the move as appropriate despite President Trump's pledge to not talk business with his sons while in office.

"We don't talk about the activities of the business. We don't talk about what we're doing in the business," Eric Trump said. "It doesn't blur the lines. You're allowed to show that. And remember, the president of the United States has zero conflicts of interest. Zero."

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