At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere was questioned by lawmakers about the company's expenses at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC, specifically focusing on stays in hotels that occurred after their merger plans with Sprint were announced.
Democratic lawmakers such as representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Hank Johnson (D-GA) lobbied Legere over whether the company was anxious for the Trump administration to receive approval of the merger. Lawmakers were particularly concerned after reports surfaced last week that President Trump allegedly tried to get into the merger of AT & T and Time Warner, and feared that Trump could also get involved in this new telecommunications merger.
"There are reasons to analyze this question about what happened in the Trump hotels because it was clear that … Trump seems to have been involved in the merger of AT & T-Time Warner, "Jayapal said. "We want to make sure that does not happen today."
In January, The Washington Post reported that T-Mobile executives stayed at the Trump Hotel in DC the day after the company announced its $ 26 billion deal with Sprint. The Post then reported that the nine executives spent 52 nights at the hotel after the announcement and spent a total of $ 195,000 at the Trump Hotel during the past 10 months, out of a total of $ 1.4 million in corporate expenses of hotel. the period of time.
If approved, the merger would reduce the number of national wireless networks in the country from four to three major carriers. Critics have argued that the merger would reduce competition, lead to higher wireless prices for consumers, and cause job losses.
Legere argued that he was not out of place for him or for others in the company to stay at the Trump Hotel, saying that he has long been a client of Trump Hotel. "If I can add, I made the decision," Legere said. "I'm a former guest of Trump, long before this transaction."
Legere's response to the accusations did not allay the concerns of the legislators. . Jayapal pointed to a Twitter argument in which Legere became involved with Trump about the quality of a hotel stay in 2015. Subsequently, Legere eliminated his malicious tweets aimed at Trump, where he discredited the hotel and said he would never want to return, although it is clear when exactly. they were eliminated. However, members seemed concerned that it was another possible attempt to curry favor with the merger.
"It does not pass the smell test for the American public," Johnson said.
Republicans criticized their Democratic colleagues during the hearing for not pressuring witnesses about the effects that the merger would have on consumers, but for political concerns with the Trump government. When trying to criticize the Trump de Legere hotel years ago, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said: "I have said that I would never stay at La Quinta again, and then I stayed at La Quinta".
In another hearing that analyzed the merger last month, House of Representatives legislators did not ask questions related to hotel stays or deleted tweets.