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With the coronavirus shutdown devastating the hospitality industry, the Trump Organization, with its resorts and hotels closed or woefully under-occupied, turned first to its usual lender. According to the New York Times, in early April, the president’s business asked Deutsche Bank’s private banking division if they’d be willing to delay payments on the hundreds of millions in outstanding loans that Trump has borrowed. (Unfortunately for the president, lawmakers forbid elected officials and Cabinet-level heads from receiving assistance from any federal bailouts passed by Congress.)
Now, the Trump Organization is requesting that the Trump administration help out. The New York Times confirmed on Tuesday that the president’s business has asked the government to change its lease payments at the Trump International Hotel, less than a mile southeast of the White House. While the Trump Organization owns the 263-room hotel, it is located in a federally owned building leased by the government to Trump in 2013 for a 60-year deal. While co-president Eric Trump confirmed that they were up to date on the rent, the family business has asked about delaying future rent payments, which the federal government has confirmed as close to $268,000. Eric Trump said that he requested that the General Services Administration, the agency that oversees federal leases, extend any sort of deal it may be providing to other tenants. “Just treat us the same,” Eric Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. “Whatever that may be is fine.”
Like with the Trump Organization’s request to Deutsche Bank, the ask for rent forgiveness from the GSA carries ethical concerns for a president who has not divested from his business interests. If the agency denies the appeal, it may irk the president, who is responsible for appointing its director. Trump, of course, is well-known for rooting out perceived dissent within the federal government.
It’s not the first time that the Trump administration has reached out to a landlord about rent payments. Earlier this month, the business contacted its landlord in Palm Beach County, Florida, to see if it could skip its five-figure rent payments for the Trump International Golf Club. Despite the repeated attempts to seek rent forgiveness, the White House has not proposed such a lenient emergency policy for the over 36 percent of Americans who rent their homes.