Trump Continues to Use the Presidency to Benefit His Properties

Throughout the entirety of his presidential campaign — and even into his term in office — Donald Trump steadfastly refused to publicize his tax returns, making him the first candidate in history to do so. Once elected, President Donald Trump bucked tradition again by refusing to separate himself from his business entities. The president argued that while he would no longer be in charge, there was no reason he shouldn’t continue to gain financially from his companies.

President Trump is a self-proclaimed wealthy man, and there’s little reason to doubt that fact. Yet throughout the 19 months he has been in office, he continues to plug his business as if the presidency is a marketing blitz for the Trump empire. The Republican Party quickly learned that the way to his heart was to hold their events at his establishments – and the president joyfully reciprocates by headlining their fundraisers and attending their galas.

With a “Winter White House” in his property in Mar-a-Lago and weekends tucked away at his Bedminster golf resort, it’s clear that the while the Trump brand of politics has been taking a hit nationally, the Trump family bottom line gets stronger every day.

Now, the president has taken that work ethic one step further, converting international diplomacy into a commercial for his lagging Scotland golf resort.

By all accounts, the site has been a serious money drain for the Trumps, losing roughly $31 million in one year according to Bloomberg news. But the president wants to ignore that reality, as he made clear in his diplomatic trip to the UK.”The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!”¯ he tweeted from the resort, using his private account rather than the official POTUS account in order to skirt any potential ethics violation.

The Trump administration would argue that he wasn’t violating the emoluments clause, which prohibits him from benefiting financially from his presidency. But the Scottish property definitely benefited from the visit from the president.

The Huffington Post reports:

The U.S. government reportedly forked over more than $77,000 to Trump Turnberry, Donald Trump’s reportedly unprofitable golf resort in Scotland, in the lead-up to the president’s recent stay at the property. Starting in April, the State Department paid $77,345.35 in several tranches to SLC Turnberry Ltd, the Trump company that owns the Scottish resort, reported Reuters on Wednesday. Citing federal government spending records, which were first reported by The Scotsman, the news agency said the payments were listed as being for “hotel rooms for VIP visit.”

According to the Trump family, there’s absolutely no issue here whatsoever.

Eric Trump argued via Twitter:

[W]hile not required, we have decided that for any United States Govt business, we charge our COST and do NOT profit from these stays. Much more would be spent if they stayed elsewhere.

What the younger Trump neglects to mention isn’t that the hotels are charging more than they would for a regular room, but that having the entourage’s business at all is, in fact, the definition of profiting.

Is the Trump family benefiting financially from the presidency through their properties? That question could easily be answered with a peek at some filed tax returns. Unfortunately President Trump still refuses to release this information. And now things are becoming even more suspect as a number of Trump properties have mysteriously stopped paying their tax bills on time.

According to a report from the Washington Post, nearly all of the Trump properties had near perfect records with their property tax bills paid completely and on time — but that screeched to a halt near the end of 2017. At that point, properties across the U.S. periodically missed their due dates, ratcheting up large financial penalties despite the fact that paying tax bills should have been a routine process.

Often, the inability to pay on time — and the decision to take a fine instead — suggests a cashflow problem, indicating that these Trump entities might be struggling financially. If so, the administration’s continuing  promotion of these properties could well be more than a violation of the emoluments clause.

Perhaps we, the U.S. taxpayers, are actually the ones keeping his hotels afloat.

Photo Credit: PRODaniel X. O'Neil/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for posting!

Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

David F. - You said: "I fear for the upcoming generations of those countries that rely on their government for their own protection."

I fear for you and your cronies if you feel the need to take on the U.S. military. Don't you support our soldiers? Don't you trust them to not turn on our citizens? That doesn't say much for your president, does it? And don't keep blaming Obama. You never had to protect yourself during his tenure; you just used him as an excuse for buying more and deadlier weapons. The NRA has stirred up a frenzy of paranoia. And the gullible are buying what they're selling --literally and figuratively-- to the tune of billions of dollars in their greedy coffers.

silja salonen
silja salonen8 months ago

is anyone really surprised ??

Julie W
Julie W8 months ago

David: "What happened in the last few years is truly tyrannical, it was clandestine and probably limited to just a few hundred people"

Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about -specifically, what DID happen?

Karen H
Karen H8 months ago

David F, when Trump took office, he tweeted "I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States." The tweet was deleted and corrected (and again deleted) later. This violated the Presidential Records Act. He subsequently decided all of his tweets would be "official" and then proceeded to block people, again in violation. Also, U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 11, Section 227 came into play when Trump influenced NFL policies and practices. Trump used his influence and made threats to impact employment decisions by NFL team owners and the league commissioner. Threats? You bet. He threatened a loss of tax breaks if players knelt. Immediately after that, the NFL commissioner ordered players not to kneel. Trump is also walking a thin line with the GOP STOCK Act.

Barbara B
Barbara B8 months ago

It seems the entire Trump family has no shame.

Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

David F. - (continued...)

Most people aren't allowed to carry their guns around in Switzerland. Concealed-carry permits are tough to get in Switzerland, and most people who aren't security workers or police officers don't have one.

"We have guns at home, but they are kept for peaceful purposes," Martin Killias, a professor of criminology at Zurich University, told the BBC in 2013. "There is no point taking the gun out of your home in Switzerland because it is illegal to carry a gun in the street."

That's mostly true. Hunters and sports shooters are allowed to transport their guns only from their home to the firing range - they can't just stop off for coffee with their rifle.

And guns cannot be loaded during transport to prevent them from accidentally firing in a place like Starbucks - something that has happened in the US at least twice.

SEE ALSO: Gun control really works - here's the science to prove it:

Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

David: (continued...) AND THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Swiss authorities decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits. They also keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region, known as a canton, though hunting rifles and some semiautomatic long arms are exempt from the permit requirement.

But cantonal police don't take their duty dolling out gun licenses lightly. They might consult a psychiatrist or talk with authorities in other cantons where a prospective gun buyer has lived before to vet the person. Some lawmakers in US states including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are considering a similar model. (So proud of NY State!)

Swiss laws are designed to prevent anyone who's violent or incompetent from owning a gun. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be permitted to own a gun.

Gun owners who want to carry their weapon for "defensive purposes" also have to prove they can properly load, unload, and shoot their weapon and must pass a test to get a license.

Around the world, stronger gun laws have been linked to fewer gun deaths. That has been the case in Switzerland too.

Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

David F. (continued...)
The Swiss stance is one of "armed neutrality." Switzerland hasn't taken part in any international armed conflict since 1815, but some Swiss soldiers help with peacekeeping missions around the world.

Many Swiss see gun ownership as part of a patriotic duty to protect their homeland. (Not to protect themselves against their homeland, David.)

Unlike the US, Switzerland has mandatory military service for men.
All men between the ages of 18 and 34 deemed "fit for service" are given a pistol or a rifle and trained. After finished their service, the men can typically buy and keep their service weapons, but they have to get a permit for them. In recent years, the Swiss government has voted to reduce the size of the country's armed forces.

The Swiss government has estimated that about half of the privately owned guns in the country are former service rifles. But there are signs the Swiss gun-to-human ratio is dwindling.

In 2007, the Small Arms Survey found that Switzerland had the third-highest ratio of civilian firearms per 100 residents (46), outdone by only the US (89) and Yemen (55). But it seems that figure has dropped over the past decade. It,s now estimated that there,s about one civilian gun for every four Swiss people.


Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

David F. - Before your NRA-based information is taken into consideration by any more readers, I have some FACTS to add:

Switzerland hasn't had a mass shooting since 2001, when a man stormed the local parliament in Zug, killing 14 people and then himself. (An every-day occurrence in the USA.)

The country has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 attempted homicides with firearms. The country's's overall murder rate is near zero.

The National Rifle Association often points to Switzerland to argue that more rules on gun ownership aren't necessary. In 2016, the NRA said on its blog that the European country had one of the lowest murder rates in the world while still having millions of privately owned guns and a few hunting weapons that don't even require a permit. But the Swiss have some specific rules and regulations for gun use.

Business Insider took a look at the country's past with guns to see why it has lower rates of gun violence than the US.