The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., lost tens of millions of dollars in the four years that Donald Trump was president, even as he was claiming big profits on the operation, according to documents unveiled Friday by Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
The lavish hotel, which sits just blocks from the White House, has been a lightning rod of controversy since Trump won the presidency in 2016, not least because it played host to numerous foreign dignitaries, business leaders and other powerful figures with vested interests in U.S. foreign policy and domestic regulation.
Trump, in entering the White House, had bucked tradition by refusing to extract himself fully from his namesake business empire. And Democrats, for years, have accused Trump of leveraging the powers of the office to reap profits for the hotel and the numerous other business ventures operated by his company around the globe.
The newly released documents, provided to the committee by the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages the federal lease governing the hotel, found that while Trump’s company did pull in millions of dollars from foreign governments over his White House term, the operation overall was a money pit, losing more than $71 million from 2017 to 2020.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the head of the Oversight and Reform panel, and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who chairs the committee’s subpanel on government operations, say the documents reveal that Trump had misled the GSA by filing erroneous financial disclosure forms over that span, claiming huge profits on an operation that was well in the red.
Citing the documents, the Democrats also maintain that Trump received special treatment from Deutsche Bank, allowing him to alter the terms of the hotel’s $170 million loan in order to postpone payments on the principal for six years.
A source familiar with the loan arrangement rejected that characterization outright, saying it’s “absolutely inaccurate” to suggest the terms of the loan were ever changed.
The loan “didn’t change before he was president, it didn’t change while he was president, it hasn’t changed since he was president. It’s remained the same,” the source said Friday. “So the statement itself is false that he got preferential treatment.”
The Democrats also contend that Trump hid enormous debts during the GSA’s initial bidding process for the hotel, falsely padding his finances by omitting outstanding loan balances he owed on properties in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco.
Citing the documents, the Democrats also maintain that Trump received special treatment from Deutsche Bank, allowing him to postpone certain payments on the hotel’s $170 million loan. And they contend that Trump hid enormous debts during the GSA’s initial bidding process for the hotel, falsely padding his finances by omitting outstanding loan balances he owed on properties in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco.
The documents also reveal that Trump’s company reaped $3.7 million from foreign governments over his presidency, the Democrats add, noting that such a figure would cover more than 7,400 nights at the hotel “at the average daily rate.”
The documents were first reported by The Washington Post.
In a separate letter to GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, Maloney and Connolly said the sum of the revelations raises new concerns that Trump had acted inappropriately — and perhaps illegally — in securing and managing the Trump Hotel property, which sits in the federally owned Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
“The documents provided by GSA raise new and troubling questions about former President Trump’s lease with GSA and the agency’s ability to manage the former President’s conflicts of interest during his term in office when he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant,” Maloney and Connolly wrote in their letter.
The lawmakers are asking GSA to provide a wealth of additional documents, including those related to foreign spending at the hotel and Trump’s payments to Deutsche Bank.
“Without more information about these opaque transactions, including the parties involved, the source of the funds, and the specific business purpose for each transaction, there is no way for anyone examining these records to understand why millions of dollars flowed between the Trump Hotel and President Trump’s other businesses,” Maloney and Connolly wrote.
Democratic scrutiny of Trump’s finances is hardly new. Party leaders have sought for years, largely unsuccessfully, to secure Trump’s tax returns, which the former president has refused to disclose. And his hotel’s alacrity for hosting foreign dignitaries has sparked accusations that the former president had violated the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bars all federal officials from accepting gifts “from any King, Prince, or foreign State” without the expressed consent of Congress.
Democrats point to one prominent case, one day after Trump was elected in 2016, when the Kuwaiti Embassy canceled reservations at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington and switched venues to Trump’s namesake hotel.
Trump and his company have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Via The Hill