Update Feb. 6: T-Mobile executives spent a total of 52 nights at the Trump Hotel, according to a new report from The Washington Post. That’s 14 more nights than the 38 previously reported.
T-Mobile’s c-suite has made a habit of visiting Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., as the Bellevue, Wash., wireless carrier awaits approval for its landmark merger with Sprint.
That’s according to a new report from The Washington Post, which obtained a VIP guest list from the hotel and spoke with guests who saw T-Mobile CEO John Legere in the lobby, sporting his signature magenta branded gear.
Update 2 p.m. A T-Mobile spokesperson shared the following statement with GeekWire in response to The Washington Post’s report:
The T-Mobile senior leadership team stays at a variety of hotels in DC and across the country – and they are chosen primarily based on proximity to the meetings being conducted. We have complete confidence that regulators will assess our merger through an objective and fact-based process and ultimately see how beneficial it will be to consumers in the United States.
Update 2:30 p.m. Legere downplayed the reports in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
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.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) January 16, 2019
But some, including Scoot Moore, CEO of Seattle startup AdLightning, were unconvinced.
T-Mobile needs approval from federal regulators to complete its blockbuster acquisition of Sprint. It’s the third time the two carriers have tried to merge. Two previous attempts were blocked by Obama administration officials concerned that the deal was anticompetitive.
Before taking another swing at the merger, Legere was critical of Trump and his hotels. The Post’s findings reveal an unprecedented phenomenon, in which business and political leaders can patronize businesses owned by the Trump family while its patriarch holds the highest political office in the nation.
In April of 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint announced plans to merge after years of on-again, off-again talks. The combined company would be worth $146 billion. The two smaller carriers claim that the merger would provide a stronger third competitor to industry titans AT&T and Verizon.
The Federal Communications Commission’s review of the merger is paused due to the government shutdown.