Trump is reportedly cutting his D.C. hotel loose
The property was at the center of suspicions he was profiting off the presidency.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, there were a whole lot of controversies regarding his businesses. Early on, people raised their eyebrows at somebody becoming president while their name was still plastered across hotels nationwide. But now, Trump is selling his beloved Washington, D.C., hotel, which sat at the center of many people’s suspicions that he was profiting off his presidency.
After winning a lease from the federal government (which is the building’s actual owner), Trump opened the Trump International Hotel just a few months before his inauguration. The hotel sits in a prime location just a short walk from the White House, so it’s no surprise that it’s being sold to CGI Merchant Group, a Miami-based investment firm, for a cool $375 million.
The Wall Street Journal reported that CGI doesn’t plan to run the hotel itself. Instead, it has a deal with Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. to brand and manage the place — which, yes, means Trump’s name will be coming down. The hotel will be run by Hilton as part of its Waldorf Astoria portfolio instead.
The Trump Organization has been in talks to sell since at least last month, per reporting from CNN. But all of this news comes not too long after reports revealed that Trump’s prized hotel was actually a money pit. According to a report from the House Oversight Committee, while Trump claimed the hotel made a little over $150 million between 2016 and 2020 on his financial disclosure forms, documents showed that it actually lost a total of $73 million during his presidency.
At the same time that Trump was losing money with the hotel, the property drove accusations that Trump violated federal emoluments laws, which basically say the president shouldn’t be able to profit off his position. In 2017, a report from the Center for Responsive Politics showed Trump was doing just that. The organization wrote, “Those seeking to curry favor with Trump are not only donating to his re-election campaign but holding fundraisers and galas at his resorts, private clubs and hotels — the proceeds of which benefit him and his family.”
While Trump potentially faced a lawsuit over these claims, the Supreme Court ended the lawsuits in January 2021. With President Biden now sworn into office, the court said it as essentially pointless to go ahead with any emoluments lawsuit against Trump. Still, the same documents that showed Trump’s hotel was losing money fast found that foreign governments paid about $3.7 million to rent rooms there.
The sale is expected to wrap up in early 2022. But Noah Bookbinder, the president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the Hill that Trump “rode out four years of using [the hotel] for influence peddling and constitutional violations. Selling it now that he’s out of office and the grift dried up is, to say the least, too little, too late.”