Donald Trump hid losses of more than $70m at his Washington, DC hotel while he was president. The House oversight committee said the deception was detailed in documents released by the General Services Administration. While Trump was in power, he faced questioning about alleged self-dealing to his businesses. He reported that the hotel had earned him over $150m in revenue during his time in office, but the records obtained show that the hotel actually incurred net losses of over $70m. The hotel in Washington was a place for Republicans to do business, but it suffered under the pandemic and after his defeat to President Joe Biden last November.
By filing these misleading public disclosures, Trump grossly exaggerated the financial health of the Trump Hotel. Additionally, he appears to have concealed potential conflicts of interest stemming from his ownership of the failing business and his role as the hotel’s lender and guarantor of third party loans. The committee found that Trump received preferential treatment from Deutsche Bank, which allowed him to delay payments on the $170m loan he obtained. The delay was for six years, so he would have been out of office even if he had won the 2020 election, making the outcome less politically damaging.
Additionally, Trump also failed to reveal sufficient details of more than $3.7m received from foreign governments, which would cover over 7,400 nights at the Trump Hotel at the average daily rate. This potentially violates the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which is meant to stop federal officials profiting from their positions. Trump has also concealed debts from when he obtained the lease on the Old Post Office from the GSA in 2011, sub sequentially transferring millions of dollars in and out of the DC Hotel. All of this raises questions about the former president’s conflicts of interest while he was in office. Trump has said the investigations of his financial affairs are politically motivated and without legal merit. However, Trump did deceive the public and the government, so if he wants someone to blame, he should start with himself.