As Donald Trump’s failed former ventures in casinos, booze, education, and meat have shown, a Trump business in financial distress is often the rule, not the exception. But according to newly released data from the Office of Government Ethics obtained by the The Wall Street Journal, 2020 was a bad year even for the ex-president with six bankruptcies to his name.
Trump Organization revenue cratered last year, dipping from $446 million in 2019 to $278 million in 2020 and the first weeks of 2021. Not all the losses were equal across Trump properties: While revenue at Mar-a-Lago grew 13 percent to $24 million, the income from the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort dropped 40 percent to $44 million. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., was hit hardest, dropping from $40 million in revenue in 2019 to $15 million in 2020.
It’s unsurprising that a hospitality business would take a hit amid a pandemic that has largely stopped business and vacation travel. One industry estimate anticipated that hotel revenue per room could have dropped as much as 50.6 percent in 2020, and some hospitality experts don’t expect a return to business as usual until 2024. But while all resort businesses will face this slow crawl to normalcy, the Trump Organization will also deal with the fallout from an insurrection he helped incite. Already, pro golf associations in the U.S. and the U.K. have announced they will pass on Trump’s links for their lucrative events; his longtime lender Deutsche Bank has announced it will no longer extend him credit; the tax lawyer representing his business in New York has dumped him; and tenants, including the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, are trying to end their leases in his towers.
Trump’s industry-wide revenue losses due to COVID-19 and his acute revenue hits due to his behavior couldn’t be coming at a worse time: Between now and 2024, Trump has close to $900 million in loans coming due, including some $340 million to Deutsche Bank that he cannot refinance. According to the reported structure of the deals he made with the German investment bank, if Trump defaults on his loans or cannot pay his loans in full — as he has a history of doing — Deutsche can seize his business assets, such as his golf courses and hotels. If their value is below the amount of the debt, the bank can pursue Trump personally because he has guaranteed the loans himself.
In an interview with the Journal, Eric Trump, who ran his father’s business during his presidency, sounded confident that the family operation would thrive in the coming years. “I have 75 million people who would follow my father to the ends of the earth,” he said. Considering the former president’s fleecing of Trump University students and his campaign’s raising over $200 million after his November loss on false claims of electoral fraud, this executive vice-president knows who his father’s future marks are.