Trump's company is profiting from the pandemic — at taxpayer expense
And Trump has allegedly been funneling taxpayer money into his own pocket since he took office.
Donald Trump and his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner have allegedly enriched themselves at taxpayer expense, as more than 25 Paycheck Protection Program loans — to the tune of $3.65 million — were given to Trump and Kushner-owned real estate properties during the pandemic.
“Fifteen of the properties self-reported that they only kept one job, zero jobs or did not report a number at all,” an NBC news analysis Tuesday night reported.
The Triomphe Restaurant Corps, part of Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City, received more than $2 million from the program, yet didn’t maintain any jobs and later closed its doors.
The outlet also reported that a company connected to Kushner’s New Jersey Bungalow Hotel received more than $500,000 from the program, maintaining 155 jobs.
Two 5th Avenue tenants at Trump Tower, despite a $100,000 PPP loan, maintained just three jobs, while four tenants at a Kushner-owned 5th Avenue property were loaned $204,000, keeping six jobs, NBC reported.
The information was obtained after NBC and 10 other newsrooms across the country sued the Small Business Administration for its release.
It’s just the latest example of a longstanding pattern of Trump serving his own financial interests on the taxpayers’ dime.
In late October, a bombshell report by the Washington Post revealed that Trump allegedly pocketed $2.5 million in taxpayer money — by charging exorbitant sums of money for political figures and Trump staffers to stay at Trump-owned properties.
At Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, the report found Trump charged $500 to $2,600 a night to the federal government for his pricy overnight guests.
The Post reported that $5.6 million more in taxpayer money was also funneled into Trump’s campaign and fundraising arm.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had previously disclosed that 33 separate political events were held at Trump properties throughout Trump’s second year in office.
Trump has also consistently promoted his business interests abroad, such as when he encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to stay at a Trump-owned property 180 miles out of the way while in Dublin, Ireland, for diplomatic talks.
But it was taxpayers who footed the bill when the Trump administration charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in limo services to the federal government for the trip.
Taxpayers have also paid for the trips abroad Trump’s two eldest sons have taken while on Trump Organization business in foreign countries.
Eric Trump did a promotional tour of Uruguay in January 2017, as taxpayers funded some $100,000 in hotel rooms for his staff and security detail. The next month, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. met up at Dubai golf resort with a business colleague — taking a quick jaunt to the Maldives on the side.
That trip cost taxpayers around $200,000, according to a CREW report.
In total, the Trumps have taken 12 times as many Secret Service-protected trips as the Obama family did.
Not all of Trump’s attempts at advancing his own financial interests have been successful, however.
In February 2018, he allegedly asked the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. to pressure the British government to hold the British Open golf tournament at a Trump-owned resort in Scotland.
And in 2019, Trump announced that he planned to hold the 2020 G-7 summit at his Miami, Florida, resort, potentially driving traffic to it during its off-season.
Both efforts ultimately failed.
The first public evidence of Trump siphoning taxpayer money into his own coffers occurred in February 2018, when an investigation uncovered that a General Services Administration employee spent $1,700 of taxpayer money at Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel.
But the conflict of interest between Trump’s business interests and his presidency has been a subject of criticism since he took office — particularly when he promised to divest himself of his business interests on the campaign trail and then never delivered.
Trump has dismissed all criticism of his blurred financial and political boundaries over the years.
In October 2019, he mocked the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits a president from deriving financial profit from his presidency.
Asked about his forsaken plan to hold the G-7 summit at his Miami resort, Trump slammed the emoluments clause as “phony.”
“[Other presidents], they ran their businesses…. I don’t think you people with this phony emoluments clause… and by the way, I would say it’s cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president,” he said. “And that’s okay, between what I lose and what I could’ve made, if I just ran my business. I was doing it really well.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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