Another harm Trump inflicted was his exploitation of the presidency to make money. Granted, he handed day-to-day management of his companies to his children, but, unlike presidents before him, he held onto ownership of his assets after taking office, ensuring that he would continue to profit while serving in the White House. From 2017 to 2019, the president’s businesses raked in an estimated $1.9 billion of revenue. Figures from 2020 are not yet available but are probably comparable.
Typical was Trump’s lease of D.C.’s Old Post Office building in 2013 which Trump then turned into the Trump International Hotel, within walking distance of the White House. Visitors who came to D.C. during Trump’s presidency to confer with the president knew very well that staying at his hotel at inflated prices—$374 to $415 per night—would bias Trump in their favor. Trump profited handsomely.
Now, according to the Washington Post, Trump is poised to sell his lease on the Old Post Office building for a record-breaking $375 million, earning Trump more than $100 million in profit.
Those seeking to curry favor with Trump knew very well how to win his support. They not only contributed to his reelection campaign but held fund raisers and galas at his resorts, clubs, and hotels, assuring that the proceeds went to Trump.
Trump’s time as president will stand throughout history as an example not of how to serve the American public but rather how to exploit the office for profit. That he succeeded shames us all.
More next time.