Donald Trump sold himself to the American people on his business record, who fell for it hook, line, and sinker despite all the evidence that he is a mediocre businessman at best who has filed for at least four bankruptcies, leaving thousands of workers out in the cold while he wrote the losses off on his taxes.
Trump’s most recent project, the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., is his pride and joy. He rushed to have it finished in time for the election, having his contracted union workers toil overtime to get the job done – which he promptly didn’t pay them for. Now it has been revealed that in its first two months of operation, rather than making the yuge profits Trump promised, it lost millions instead, according to a letter issued by Democrats who are protesting Trump’s conflicts of interest and his violation of his hotel lease.
Trump Old Post Office LLC, through which President Trump owns a majority stake in the hotel, predicted it would take in more than $6 million in September and October, before the election, according to the letter. Instead, its revenue totaled roughly $4.1 million, not enough to cover expenses.
Trump spent $212 million – most of it borrowed from the Deutsche Bank AG – to renovate the building into a hotel. He pays $3 million a year in rent to the Government Services Agency, and he violated the terms of his lease with the GSA the second he was sworn into office, prompting the filing of an official ethics complaint. The lease explicitly forbids “elected officials from benefiting to avoid conflicts of interest with their duties.”
Trump’s continued refusal to divest himself from his businesses means that Trump’s businesses automatically becomes a pay-for-play corruption vehicle by which foreign governments can influence Trump’s behavior by providing generous “donations” or otherwise spending heavily at his businesses – a fact not lost on foreign actors, who have been flocking to his Washington Hotel in order to curry favor with the corrupter-in-chief.
It should be interesting to see if profits suddenly grow in the coming months, which would be a clear indication that Trump is using his position as President to enrich himself. It yet remains to be seen if anybody in Congress will take it upon themselves to force Trump to at least pretend to maintain any kind of ethical standard.
“Under budget and ahead of schedule. So important. We don’t hear those words so often, but you will. Today is a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country” said Trump at the opening of his hotel. He was right, but not in the way he meant. Trump’s pro-business agenda is expected to add $34 trillion to the deficit and cripple the economy. If Trump runs this country like he runs his businesses, we are all in very deep trouble.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.