Karma takes a bite out of Trump’s empire to the tune of the loss of millions of dollars. Are you tired of all that losing, yet?
Editor’s Note: Samuel Warde is the editor-in-chief of Liberals Unite (recently re-branded as The Art of Living) as well as a contributor to Mindy Fischer, Writer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can view a list of his articles here.
Conservative business magazine Forbes recently reported that Trump’s business empire has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars the last three+ years. Of particular note is the fact that Trump’s refusal to honor the Emoluments Clause is the primary cause of his losses.
Forbes has been attempting to determine whether Trump is profiting from the presidency since he was elected on November 2016.
According to Forbes,
While the experiment continues to unfold, in real time, the early results are in. Much as he’s trying—and he’s definitely trying—Donald Trump is not getting richer off the presidency. Just the opposite. His net worth, by our calculation, has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion the last two years, knocking the president 138 spots lower on the Forbes 400.
Trump’s Golf Courses Crash
We will take a brief look at the figures of Trump’s losses across the spectrum of his business interests. Looking at his luxury golf resorts, Forbes reported that:
Overall, revenue at the president’s U.S. golf properties fell by an estimated 9% in 2017. It goes beyond politics—guests now endure metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs. “It’s not a country club experience,” a source familiar with Trump’s golf business says. “It was captivating at first, but it has become tiresome.” Not even the chance to rub shoulders with a sitting president can overcome this problem: Revenues appear to be down at the three courses Trump visits most often.
And it’s not just the U.S. where Trump is losing money. NBC News reported that Trump’s businesses in Scotland lost millions of dollars in 2016.
The iconic Turnberry resort, which [Trump] famously visited in the middle of the Brexit referendum, saw losses that doubled to $23 million in 2016 and revenue that fell by 16 percent. Losses at Trump International Golf Links, north of Aberdeen, Scotland, also increased — by 28 percent to $18.4 million.
Trump’s Residential Real Estate Holdings Plummet
Forbes also detailed losses stemming from Trump’s residential real estate properties, his “traditional wheelhouse.”
Prices for condos in Trump Tower have fallen every year since 2015, when Trump declared his candidacy, and are an estimated 33% below their highs. Similar trends are playing out a few blocks away at Trump Park East, where prices are down 23%, and at Trump Park Avenue, where they have dropped 19%.
Shift in perception [regarding the Trump brand] has erased an estimated $50 million from the value of his residential units in Chicago and New York.
Trump Branded Properties Losing Millions
Continuing, Forbes reported that: “After multiple bankruptcies, Trump adroitly turned his business toward real estate management and licensing, slapping his name on other people’s buildings, ties, steaks, and even a urine test—allowing him to make money while others take all the financial risk.”
However, Forbes reported that the Trump brand is losing millions as well.
Partners at three Trump-branded hotels (Toronto, Panama, New York City’s SoHo) have taken the president’s name off their projects, which helps explain why politics has dragged that segment of the Trump hotel empire down about $30 million, by Forbes’ estimates. Meanwhile, many of his licensing customers, including Macy’s and the mattress-maker Serta, fled in the early days of his abrasive campaign—and the president’s company doesn’t seem to have landed a single new deal since. In 2015, Forbes valued Trump’s product-licensing operation at $23 million. It’s now down to a mere $3 million. “He’s so polarizing that people are afraid to do business with him,” says Jeff Lotman, who runs the licensing company Global Icons. “He has significantly tarnished the brand.”
Conclusion: It’s Trump’s Fault
Trump is facing multiple lawsuits and investigations regarding his refusal to honor the Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause.” [For those unfamiliar with the term, Business Insider reported that the Emoluments Clause “bars elected officials from receiving gifts, payments, or benefits from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.
Forbes concluded their article stating that Trump is responsible for those losses due to his stubborn refusal to comply with his oath to uphold the Constitution – all of it to include the Emoluments Clause.
Trump’s presidency remains a net loser for him, which seems ironic. In not divesting, he set himself up so that his actions, and those of people who engage with his businesses, present perpetual conflicts of interest—or the appearance of them. Meanwhile, if he’d liquidated, paid capital gains tax on his entire fortune and created a blind trust to invest it all in the booming stock market, Trump would be $500 million richer than he is today—without the headaches. [emphasis added]