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Foreign Governments and MAGA Barflies Couldn’t Prop Up Trump’s D.C. Hotel

The luxury hotel and GOP watering hole lost more than $70 million during Trump’s time in the White House, according to the House Oversight Committee, which accused the ex-president of exaggerating the property’s financial health.

While the Trump International Hotel served as the go-to D.C. watering hole and informal meeting spot for Trumpworld figures during its namesake’s time in office, the House Oversight Committee found that the Trump Organization “grossly exaggerated the financial health” of the property and that the hotel lost tens of millions during Donald Trump’s term in the White House. “While President Trump claimed he was making $156 million in ‘employment income’ from the Trump Hotel [between 2016 and 2020], the Trump Hotel lost over $73 million,” committee chairperson Carolyn Maloney and Government Operations subcommittee chair Gerald Connolly wrote in a letter released on Friday. 

The committee, which based its findings on financial documents it obtained from the General Services Administration, asserted that the Trump Organization received “preferential treatment” from Deutsche Bank, which had given the former president’s company a $170 million loan. (The GSA has leased the federally owned land, just blocks from the White House, to Trump since 2013.) Prior to Trump entering office, his company was required to start paying off the Deutsche Bank loan in 2018, but a year into his White House term, the conditions of the loan “were changed to allow the Trump Hotel to defer any principal payments on the loan by six years,” a shift that the committee described as a sitting U.S. president receiving a “significant financial benefit from a foreign bank.” The committee also found that officials from foreign governments spent more than $3.75 million at the D.C. Trump property from 2017–2019. “Either the Trump Organization underreported foreign government profits from these other properties or the President’s Washington hotel became the epicenter of foreign government payments to the President’s companies,” the committee wrote.

The committee stated that its findings “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 also said that Trump “has used his complex network of business holdings to hide the truth about his finances. The committee will continue to vigorously pursue its investigation until the full truth comes to light so that Congress can address the unresolved ethics crisis left by Trump and prevent future presidents from profiting off of the presidency.” The committee’s assertions that Trump misled and exaggerated in describing his financial situation are “consistent with decades of Trump’s business m.o.,” noted Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

The Trump Organization responded to the Oversight Committee’s 27-page letter by accusing congressional Democrats of making “intentionally misleading” and “unequivocally false” claims. “First, it is clear that the committee has a fundamental misunderstanding of basic accounting principles—including the difference between gross revenue and net profit. Second, at no time did the company receive any preferential treatment from any lender,” said company spokeswoman Kimberly Benza. “Lastly, the committee clearly fails to report that profits collected during the presidency were voluntarily donated back to the U.S. Treasury at the end of each fiscal year.” The statement went on to say that the committee’s released findings are part of a “continued political harassment” campaign meant to “mislead the American public” and “defame Trump.” A spokesman for Deutsche Bank, Dan Hunter, claimed that the Oversight Committee made “several inaccurate statements regarding Deutsche Bank and its loan agreement” with Trump.  

The Oversight Committee’s findings come at a precarious time for the Trump Organization, as it is seeking to finalize the sale of the Trump Hotel’s leasing rights to a property developer; the developer would then make a deal with a hotel company to rebrand the infamous building, per an Axios report published last month. “It is worth more money to a mainstream hotel chain,” tweeted New York Times reporter Eric Lipton. “It is without question a beautiful hotel–perhaps most beautiful hotel lobby in DC. But it under performs on the market–because of Trump, even if it pulls in Trump supporters.”

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