Trump’s DC hotel restaurant had a seven-step process for serving him a Diet Coke: report

Trump Soda
Donald Trump drinks a Diet Coke at the Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York in 2016.

  • When dining at the BLT steakhouse in Washington DC, Trump was served with precision.
  • Waiters had to follow a seven-step process for serving Diet Cokes, according to Washingtonian.
  • Trump reportedly ate the same meal every time he visited the restaurant.
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When former President Donald Trump ventured outside of the White House to the BLT Prime restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel, his penchant for Diet Cokes came with him.

In a Washingtonian magazine report, employees revealed how the restaurant had an intricate, seven-step process for serving the soda to Trump.

Employees were instructed to follow a “Standard Operating Procedure” handbook, which Washingtonian obtained, whenever Trump was dining at BLT Prime.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the first step involved a waiter “discreetly” offering a small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer for the former president, a self-described germaphobe.

The waiter then greeted Trump and asked if he preferred his Diet Coke with or without ice. 

The third step involved the waiter presenting a polished tray with chilled bottles and glasses to be used for either of Trump’s preferences.

The waiter would then open the bottle of Diet Coke within sight of Trump.

Next, the waiter would hold a bottle opener “by the lower third” and the Diet Coke in the same position while popping the bottle open.

Once poured, the drink was then placed to the right of Trump on the dining table.

The final step? The waiter had to repeat the process until the former president left the restaurant.

While dining, Trump reportedly ate the same meal with his Diet Coke, which included popovers, shrimp cocktail, and a well-done steak. Favored dessert options, which Trump didn’t always indulge in, included an apple pie or chocolate cake.

In the Oval Office, Trump reportedly consumed a dozen Diet Cokes a day, using a red button on the Resolute desk to request the sodas.

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Former Trump DC hotel chef said that suppliers ‘were suddenly sending’ rotten produce and lower-quality meat after he started working there

BLT Prime Trump
The BLT Prime restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC.

  • BLT Prime, the Trump DC restaurant hotel, often received rotten produce, according to a former chef.
  • According to the Washingtonian, food suppliers sent the chef “rotten produce and subpar cuts of meat.”
  • Rudy Giuliani was a regular presence at the restaurant and treated his table like a workspace.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

While the BLT Prime restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC was marketed for its upscale sensibilities, it often received spoiled produce, the steakhouse’s former executive chef told Washingtonian magazine.

With former President Donald Trump out of office and living at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, several employees spoke out about their experiences at the hotel.

After Bill Williamson, the executive chef of BLT Prime at the Trump International Hotel from February 2018 to March 2020, joined the restaurant, food suppliers whom he had successfully worked with in the past “were suddenly sending him rotten produce and subpar cuts of meat and fish,” according to Washingtonian.

“I guarantee someone in that warehouse picking this product saw where it was going and was like, ‘Oh, f— it, give ’em this stuff,'” Williamson said.

Former executive chef Shawn Matijevich, who worked at BLT for part of 2017 and 2018, said that a green supplier whom he used in the past stopped working with him, saying their “conscience” precluded them from servicing the hotel restaurant.

Williamson also noted that Rudy Giuliani was a frequent presence at BLT Prime and had a regular table, despite performing more work duties than perusing the restaurant menu.

“It was pretty much his office,” he told Washingtonian. “He was doing more paperwork there than eating. Some days, he’d be there all day.”

While the coronavirus pandemic forced the restaurant to temporarily shutter last year, once restrictions were gradually lifted, supporters of the former president were often spotted dining sans masks, which forced staffers to ask guests to use their face coverings.

“I doubt as many restaurants in the city have to put up with grown men rolling their eyes when we ask them to put on their masks,” a former employee said.

According to the magazine, several employees are concerned that they may not be able to find new positions if they list the restaurant on their résumés.

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Trump’s DC hotel is hiking prices for March 4 – the day QAnon followers think the former president will be sworn in

trump international hotel dc
The north entrance of the Trump International in Washington, DC.

  • QAnon followers believe that Trump will be sworn in on March 4, 2021.
  • This belief is rooted in a conspiracy theory that all presidents post-1871 are illegitimate.
  • Trump’s DC hotel is the only one in the area to have hiked prices for March 4, Forbes reported.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

QAnon’s most dedicated followers still believe that former President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 presidential election, is yet to be sworn in.

March 4, 2021 is a day they have marked in their diaries, insisting that is the date when Trump will be inaugurated in Washington, DC, and, ultimately, return to power.

Coincidentally, Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC is hiking up the prices of suites around that period. The hotel, just blocks away from the White House, has almost tripled the rates for some rooms on the nights of March 3 and 4, according to Forbes.

Read more: 7 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn’t going away.

The sovereign citizen movement

The reason why QAnon supporters place so much importance on March 4 is rooted in the bizarre beliefs of the ‘sovereign citizen movement.’

It believes that Americans are not subject to a variety of federal laws. The basis for this is that a law, enacted in 1871, secretly turned the US into a corporation rather than a nation.

Consequently, they view every president inaugurated since as illegitimate. Members of the sovereign citizen movement believe that former President Ulysses S. Grant was the last legitimate president.

Grant, like other presidents in the 19th century, was inaugurated on March 4. The sovereign citizen movement believes that the republic will be restored and Trump will become the US’s 19th president on March 4, 2021.

This fantasy has gained traction with the hardcore of QAnon adherents attempting to make sense of President Joe Biden’s recent inauguration, according to Vice.

March 4 appears to have become a marketing opportunity for Trump’s DC hotel.

The normal rate for a deluxe king in March would usually run between $476 and $596, according to Forbes. This year, the same type of room is priced has almost tripled. On March 3 and 4, the magazine reported that the room is going for $1,331 per night.

The price hike is exclusive to the Trump International Hotel, according to Zach Everson in his 1100 Pennsylvania newsletter.

Other luxury hotels in the White House’s vicinity appear to have standard rates for the nights of March 3 and 4, Everson said.

Trump International Hotel did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

This would not be the first time that a Trump hotel had raised its rates to coincide with a political event.

On January 5 and 6, Trump International raised its rates significantly. The cheapest room available was $8,000 on the night of the deadly insurrection, according to Forbes’ reporter Suzanne Rowan Kelleher.

On January 7, the hotel’s managing director shared that the Capitol siege’s week was one of “record-breaking” numbers.

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Trump’s fall from grace won’t just damage his political career. His businesses will suffer too, according to a PR expert.

trump plane
Former president Trump’s business empire may be under threat.

  • Trump’s businesses will suffer in the aftermath of his presidency, PR expert Eric Schiffer told Insider.
  • Even prior to the Capitol siege, revenues at his businesses plummeted during the pandemic.
  • “If you’re a brand manager … you’d avoid Trump,” Eric Schiffer added.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s not only his political career that has been hit by former president Donald Trump’s plummeting reputation. His businesses will suffer, too.

This is the view of PR expert Eric Schiffer, who told Insider that by becoming the enemy of the people, Trump will destroy any revenue potential his brand could have had. He called it a “modern-day brand suicide.”

“There will be blood against his economic possibilities,” he added.

Trump’s businesses were already struggling

Trump boasts a business empire of roughly 500 ventures, which he controls through the Trump Organization. It includes 10 hotels and 19 golf courses alongside residential buildings, resorts, and restaurants across North America, Asia, and Europe. He has also had a career on TV, earning almost $200 million for his starring role in “The Apprentice.”

But even before the tumultuous events of 2021, in which the House of Representatives impeached him over accusations that he incited a resurrection, his businesses’ revenues were already tumbling.

His golf clubs and hotels suffered huge revenue drops in 2020, according to recent financial disclosures.

Read more: 10 huge hits to Trump’s business from the pandemic that may be permanent

Revenue from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, fell 63% from $40.5 million in 2019 to $15.1 million across 2020 and the first 20 days of 2019. Trump’s hotel-related sales in Vegas – where he owns the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas – also dropped roughly 60%.

Much of this can be attributed to travel restrictions and lockdown measures during the pandemic. But Trump’s actions as president may have impacted his businesses, too.

His net worth has fallen by $500 million since he took office in 2017, according to Bloomberg. During his presidency, Trump-branded Manhattan buildings lost half their value, too.

Council members in New York City spent years lobbying to end business contracts with the Trump Organization to manage four concessions in its park, saying Trump’s reputation was causing its profits to plummet.

The Trump branding was likely detracting people from visiting the attractions, Mark Levine, former chair of the city’s parks and recreation committee, told Insider. He called the Trump Organization’s connections with the four businesses “a stain on the city.”

“I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they just can’t bear to go to Wollman Ice Rink or the Central Park Carousel because of [Trump’s] association with it,” Levine explained.

The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) of America canceled an event due to be held at a Trump-owned golf clubs in 2015 after the then-presidential candidate referred to Mexicans as “rapists” and people who are “bringing crime and bringing drugs.”

Then his reputation fell further

According to Schiffer, Trump already had a low reputation because of his COVID-19 mismanagement, racist comments, and baseless claims of voter fraud, thanks in part to his miscalculation that “chaos could lead to continued power.”

In the days after the Capitol siege, Trump’s reputation fell even further.

Read more: Donald Trump didn’t pardon himself. A massive tsunami of legal peril now awaits him.

His approval rating hit a historic low of 29% as his favorability with Republicans nosedived, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center.

On January 13, Trump became the first president to be impeached twice after the House charged him with inciting an insurrection. Ten Republicans lawmakers broke ranks with Trump and voted in favor of his impeachment.

Trump’s transition to being a private citizen again will likely make him the target of numerous legal investigations, Schiffer said, which “can turn a brand into rat poison fairly quickly.”

Any kind of legal judgment could make his supporters could back away, he added. This seismic shift away from Trump is a “further killing machine against his brand,” he said.

“If you’re a brand manager and you could have any brand to manage, you’d avoid Trump,” Schiffer added.

Read more: GOP kicks Trump to curb after deadly Capitol insurrection, leaving president to fend for himself during his historic 2nd impeachment

The Capitol siege has made the outlook even bleaker for Trump’s businesses

Top chief executives were overwhelmingly in favor of Trump’s impeachment, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute, told Insider.

As a result, dozens of large companies pulled the plug on political donations following the Capitol siege on January 6.

But political donations aren’t the only way companies give money to politicians. When politicians double up as businesspeople, like Trump, companies can essentially be funding them by spending money at their enterprises.

In response, companies have been cutting their business ties with Trump, too.

E-scooter startup Lime became the first major company to vow never to give money to businesses connected to Trump or Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. It has also scrubbed Trump’s properties from its list of approved corporate travel hotels for its 600 employees.

E-commerce platform Shopify also removed accounts associated with Trump, including his official campaign store. Sites like and can no longer be accessed.

The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) of America, meanwhile, pulled its 2022 Championship from Trump’s New Jersey golf course, and it’s unlikely that major CEOs will continue holding events at any of Trump’s venues, Sonnenfeld told Insider.

Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank, and Professional Bank said they would no longer provide banking services to Trump or the Trump Organization.

It’s not just businesses freezing Trump out either. The City of New York is ending its business contracts with the Trump Organization after years of lobbying, and the Girl Scouts of Greater New York told Insider it’s trying to exit lease for a Manhattan office tower known as the Trump Building. The condo board of West Palm Beach’s Trump Plaza, meanwhile, voted unanimously to remove Trump from the name.

Trump’s loyalists can’t prop his businesses up

Trump still has a small group of dedicated supporters – but they won’t be enough to keep his businesses going. His loyalists “were not in many ways his core buyers,” Schiffer told Insider, noting that “many are not of high income.”

Members are even quitting Mar-a-Lago because it has become a sad and dispirited place since Trump moved in, according to the author of a book on the luxury Florida resort Trump bought in 1985.

Trump may be able to monetize from his MAGA crowd in other ways, Schiffer said, such as creating a blog or newsletter or holding ticketed events, but these won’t make up for the revenues lost through his hotels, restaurants, and golf clubs.

Read more: Trump’s business recovering may depend on him apologizing to Americans

“Trump will exit the presidency with a brutal set of targets surrounding the heart of his brand, which will be a danger to his survival economically and that of his children, and likely will lead to excruciating pain of the type he has really never faced,” he added.

His political supporters will struggle, too

It’s not just Trump who will suffer economically following his COVID-19 mismanagement, election fraud misinformation, and actions in the run-up to the Capitol siege, Schiffer believes.

It’s likely his supporters from his time in office will feel the financial implications, too.

“Those individuals are going to be in crisis,” Schiffer told Insider. “There is a movement to ensure that those that were tied to Trump are suffocated economically and do not get any opportunities.”

The editor of Forbes, Randall Lane, has urged companies not to hire communications officials from Trump’s administration, saying there should be “repercussions” for those who had lied on behalf of the then-president. Lane suggested any companies employing them would be viewed as a “potential funnel of disinformation.”

Schiffer said: “Many mainstream employers will look at anyone who worked with Trump at the White House like they are hiring the Black death.” These employers wouldn’t allow Trump’s supporters to receive a paycheck with their brand name on, he added.

An investigation by Insider showed former White House communications staff are getting snubbed while hunting for jobs. One PR recruiter told Insider they took on six former White House employees as clients, but none were able to even secure an interview with corporations they had applied to.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has also reportedly struggled to find a new role.

This backlash against Trump’s closest political allies, which also included dozens of companies halting PACs to the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, could make them rethink their stance on impeachment, experts told Insider.

“Cutting funding hits these politicians where it hurts,” Donald Hambrick, a professor of management at Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University, said. “I think senators are gonna be squirming.”

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