Trump’s business raised $ 2.4 billion in his four years as president

Trump's business raised $ 2.4 billion in his four years as president

Jamel Toppin for Forbes

Forbes estimates that the pandemic helped cut about $ 200 million from Trump’s sales last year.

In April 2017, Press Secretary Sean Spicer took the podium in the White House briefing room and announced that the president would donate his salary to the National Park Service for the first quarter. With a serious expression on his face, Spicer produced an oversized check with an oversized signature. It was the first of several checks that Donald Trump signed during his tenure, presenting his salary of $ 400,000 in exchange for good publicity.

For Trump that was pocket money. His real money came from the business he refused to sell, not from his government salary. An analysis of documents, some of which have only been published in the last few weeks, shows how much Trump’s companies have earned during his tenure. Sift through everything – including property records, ethical disclosures, debt documents, and security filings – and you will find approximately $ 2.4 billion in revenue from January 2017 to December 2020.

What does the income bring?

Without the pandemic it would have been even more. Trump’s business grossed approximately $ 650 million annually for the first three years of his presidency. However, in 2020, revenue plummeted to an estimated $ 450 million when the company became infected with COVID. “It hurts me, and it hurts Hilton, and it harms all major hotel chains around the world,” Trump said in a March 2020 press conference at the White House. “It hurts everyone. I mean, there are very few companies that are doing well now. ”

Most of Trump’s revenue flowed through his clubs and golf properties, which grossed around $ 940 million over four years. Trump National Doral, the golf resort in Miami, contributed around 270 million US dollars. Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s club in Palm Beach, raised around $ 90 million. A New Jersey golf club the former president spent this summer grossed approximately $ 60 million. These top-line numbers didn’t all land in Trump’s pocket, however. Golf clubs and resorts are expensive to manage, with operating profit margins of 20% in good times. Trump’s traditional golf courses fared reasonably well during the pandemic, but its golf resorts struggled with long closings, which caused its total golf and club revenues to drop 27% to an estimated $ 190 million in 2020.

The former headquarters of Bank of America at 555 California Street will be in San Francisco, California, USA on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. An iconic San Francisco office property in the heart of the financial district is about to be remodeled as emerging tech companies move from the popular South of Market area to other neighborhoods. Photographer: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg


Fortunately for Trump, he also had high-margin commercial real estate holdings to improve his bottom line. This proved particularly critical in 2020 as commercial tenants – many with long-term leases – continued to pay rent. At 555 California Street, a San Francisco office building in which Trump owns a 30% stake, his rent actually rose from $ 42 million to $ 43 million last year, according to an analysis of the records. The same happened on 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, where Trump’s loot rose from around $ 55 million to $ 58 million.

The hotel, license and management business, on the other hand, did not do so well. Estimated revenues stayed well above $ 100 million from 2017 to 2019, but declined closer to $ 50 million in 2020. No part of Trump’s portfolio was worse positioned to withstand such a blow given the debt burden of his hotels. At his Washington, DC hotel, revenue stagnated at about $ 52 million from 2017 to 2019. With sales stalling, the hotel didn’t appear to be generating enough profit prior to the pandemic to cover interest on its $ 170 million loan from Deutsche Bank. Things only got worse when COVID-19 hit and revenue plummeted to less than $ 20 million. No wonder the Trump Organization tried to sell the place.

FILE – On December 21, 2016, file photo shows the Trump International Hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC An Associated Press analysis of stakeholders who visited President Donald Trump’s real estate in his first year in office finds several cases that occurred at at least give the appearance of “Pay for Play”. He is particularly interested in holding meetings on the property, putting money in his pockets to influence his administration. Before taking office, Trump made a number of promises to draw a “red line” between his companies and his government. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File)


But the former president wasn’t very lucky to dump this hotel or any other asset last year. Trump gave up $ 32 million in real estate in 2017, an estimated $ 53 million in 2018 and $ 32 million in 2019. The lack of deals was one of the reasons revenue fell about 25% to an estimated $ 450 million. A smaller sum, but still more than a thousand times the annual salary he gave away.


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