One of the biggest news stories of 2018 was T-Mobile and Sprint announcing that the two carriers were merging together as part of a massive $26 billion deal. A merger of this magnitude needs approval from a lot of different parties, one of which being the Trump administration. According to a report from The Washington Post, T-Mobile may have tried to subtly entice President Trump to give them approval by having numerous executives stay at a Trump hotel.
Updated 4:45 PM EST — Johh Legere responds to report, says he hopes merger decision isn't based on his hotel choices
A few hours since this story broke, T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded with the following statement on Twitter:
Wow - A lot of attention on where I choose to stay in DC. I've said many times that I respect this process and am working to get our merger done the right way. I trust regulators will make their decision based on the benefits it will bring to the US, not based on hotel choices.
The next day after the merger was announced, The Washington Post reports:
In Washington, staffers at the Trump International Hotel were handed a list of incoming "VIP Arrivals." That day's list included nine of T-Mobile's top executives — including its chief operating officer, chief technology officer, chief strategy officer, chief financial officer and its outspoken celebrity chief executive, John Legere.
That initial visit was apparently for one to three days, but it wasn't the only time T-Mobile execs stayed at the hotel. In fact, over the course of about a dozen or so days, various executives stayed at the Trump hotel for a total of 38 nights. Considering that a room at the hotel can easily cost over $300, that definitely wasn't a cheap bill for T-Mobile.
Of all the hotels in D.C., why did T-Mobile choose Trump's?
Last week, a Post reporter spotted Legere in the Trump hotel's lobby. In an impromptu interview, the T-Mobile chief executive said he was not seeking special treatment. He chose the Trump hotel, he said, for its fine service and good security.
"It's become a place I feel very comfortable," Legere said. He also praised the hotel's location, next to one of the departments that must approve the company's merger.
Obviously, something like this raises a lot of concerns. It's entirely possible that T-Mobile's executives stayed at Trump hotel with no ulterior motives, but with such a big merger on the line, it's hard to not want to connect the dots. Trump's position as President is unique in the sense that he also has private businesses across the country between his hotels and golf courses, and that's something that's already been heavily criticized by people much smarter than me.
It's an interesting story no matter how you look at it, and if you feel like diving into the war zone in the comments below, feel free to share your own thoughts/opinions.