Much has been said and written about President Trump’s ways of funneling U.S. and foreign government funds into his own hotels and resorts. But there’s another side to that coin.
For all his efforts, reports the Washington Post, “at least parts of [his] company are struggling, beset by financial setbacks, regulatory and legal battles, and a tarnished brand name.”
As an example, the Post notes a recent Trump fundraiser at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, where the president drew laughs from supporters by pointing out “What a beautiful ballroom!” they were in.
“The Chicago event exemplifies a pattern of the Trump presidency: It was another presidential trip that brought Trump private benefits. The hotel was paid about $100,000 for the lunch,” the Post says, citing “a Republican official who helped coordinate it.”
Still, the newspaper says, “it is becoming clear that the political environment he helped create is having consequences for the real estate empire he and his family built.”
Along with an 89% overall drop in profits at the Chicago hotel over the president’s term in office so far its food services — including a now-shuttered Michelin-star restaurant — suffered a decline from a $3.2 million profit in 2016 to a $679,000 loss last year.
“From the outside, it is not possible to gauge how serious those problems are,” the Post admits, while noting that recently the Trump Organization “announced two other moves that seem sharply out of character.”
Late last month, the company revealed it might sell the lease on its Washington D.C. hotel, which opened only three years ago after a $200 million renovation.
And two ice rinks the company built in New York’s Central Park were recently redecorated, removing or reducing in size the Trump name on their signs.
The Post calls that “a small change with huge symbolism: A company built around Trump’s world-famous name was now seemingly trying to play it down.”
So despite the extra income generated by Trump political events and foreign officials choosing to stay in Trump hotels, the net appears to be more loss than gain.
As the Post puts it: “a few visits are unlikely to balance out a broader loss of business, if Trump’s politics drive his old customers away.”
Trump Organization lawyers call that “unfair political backlash.”
But Trump critics — including protesters who showed up at his Chicago hotel on the very night of the 2016 election — might say he’s brought it all on himself.