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T-Mobile increases spending at Trump hotel following Sprint merger: Report

March 5, 2019

Cellular company T-Mobile reportedly wrote a letter to congressional Democrats saying they had spent nearly $200,000 at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. after announcing a $26 billion merger with Sprint.

T-Mobile said in the letter that they spent $195,000 at the hotel after they announced their planned merger with Sprint, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

“While we understand that staying at Trump properties might be viewed positively by some and negatively by others, we are confident that the relevant agencies address the questions before them on the merits,” Anthony Russo, T-Mobile USA’s vice president of federal legislative affairs, wrote in a Feb. 21 letter.

The response was to a letter from Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said that T-Mobile was increasing its use of President Trump’s hotels to “curry favor” with the president as the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission review the multibillion-dollar merger.

The two Democratic lawmakers pointed out that the day after the merger announcement, all of T-Mobile’s nine executives had rooms in the Trump hotel. Executives have stayed at the hotel 52 nights since the announcement, compared to just twice beforehand.

“The decision to stay at the Trump Hotel appears to be unusual for several reasons,” Ms. Jayapal and Ms. Warren wrote. “Your stay began one day after the merger announcement. You had a particularly high profile during your stay, walking the lobby in an outfit described as ‘a walking billboard for T-Mobile,’ posing for Instagram pictures, and, during a later stay, meeting in the lobby with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.”

Mr. Russo wrote that their spending at Mr. Trump’s hotels was only 14 percent of their corporate budget for D.C. hotels, whereas half of it was used on Hilton properties.

He also wrote that T-Mobile is “confident” that these hotel stays will not affect the merger, which would combine two of the nation’s four top mobile carriers into one.