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Is Donald Trump's Silence on Brunei Due to Sordid Past?


Trump has yet to condemn brutal antigay laws greenlit by the Sultan of Brunei, who also owns The Beverly Hills Hotel -- a popular site for the president's sordid past.

President Donald Trump's deafening silence over Brunei's brutal anti-LGBTQ laws has resurfaced his sordid history with The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Owned by the Sultan of Brunei, the pink-hued Beverly Hills Hotel is known as a private retreat for high-profile guests -- it's also the location where Trump allegedly met up with adult film star Stormy Daniels and is accused to have sexually assaulted former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos.

As of today, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has enacted a new penal code stating that people who have sex with a person of the same gender and women who have sex outside of marriage can be stoned to death.

This new law will subject LGBTQ people to the death penalty, and would also allow women like Daniels and Zervos to face similar violence if their alleged interactions with Trump happened in Brunei.

The United Nations urged the Asian nation not to implement these portions of the law over the past week, and Amnesty International condemned the "vicious" new policy.

Celebrities including George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, and Jonathan Van Ness have called for a boycott of The Beverly Hills Hotel and other luxury hotels owned by the sultan's company, the Dorchester Collection.

But despite Trump's claims to support the LGBTQ community and his purported global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in dozens of nations including Iran, the president has refused to condemn or comment on Brunei.

The Advocate repeatedly asked the White House for comment over the past week. On the eve of the new laws going into effect, Trump's representatives finally deferred to the State Department, and refused to respond when pressed on how the president's silence squares with his past promises of LGBTQ protections.

Many of Trump's political scandals over the past two years are closely connected with The Beverly Hills Hotel, where he frequently booked a private bungalow during his visits to the West Coast.

Porn star Stormy Daniels alleges that she had sex with Trump in 2006 while he was married, and that she was paid to keep quiet about it during the 2016 campaign. She claims that in 2007, she visited Trump in his bungalow in the hopes of landing a guest appearance on Celebrity Apprentice.

She sued Trump in March 2018 to release herself from a confidentiality agreement.

Last August, Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes including campaign finance violations related to paying for Daniels's silence over the alleged affair. He said the hush money payouts were made "in coordination with and at the direction of a federal candidate for office [Trump]" in order to influence the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump last year after he called her a liar over her claims that he sexually assaulted her at The Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007. Her lawyers subpoenaed the hotel for records of Trump's stays during five years when he often traveled to the West Coast, the Los Angeles Times reported last June.

The hotel is also featured in a lawsuit from Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, who claimed last March that she had a 10-month affair with Trump and was pressured to sign a hush agreement by Cohen during the presidential campaign. The suit was settled in April.

The Beverly Hills Hotel prides itself on the privacy it offers celebrity guests, and even teases this aspect of the property on its website, stating "If these walls could talk...We would never reveal the scandals that have unfolded."

Spokespeople from the White House did not return requests for comment regarding whether Trump's history at the hotel is impacting his decision-making on Brunei.

Representatives from the Dorchester Collection, the holding company for The Beverly Hills Hotel, would not comment on the specifics of their relationship with Trump. However, a spokesperson did emphasis that they believe in the "equality, respect and integrity" of all employees and guests.

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Christine Linnell