Trump's efforts to unethically profit from the presidency are falling flat because his personal brand is so toxic. And the revenue at many of his properties is coming up short as a result.
Trump has tried to use the presidency to boost the fortunes of his company. But his toxic brand and unpopular administration keep getting in the way.
While his D.C. hotel continues to be a repository for foreign governments, influence peddlers, and his fellow Republicans, his other holdings outside of the D.C. area are in a slump.
Revenues at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort, were down 10 percent in 2017. The Washington Post notes that much of that downturn came because charities began declining to hold events at the venue after Trump praised rampaging Nazis in Virginia as “very fine people.”
That embarrassing slump comes even as Trump has promoted the resort as the “Winter White House,” using it as the site for meetings with world leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
And despite having thus far spent 112 days of his presidency at his golf clubs, the Post reports that the clubs “in West Palm Beach, Fla., Jupiter, Fla., and northern Virginia all reported declines in revenue.” His golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, only had a two percent bump in revenue.
Trump refused to follow presidential tradition and divest from his holdings or put his businesses in a blind trust. Pending litigation alleges he’s violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bans elected officials from receiving payment from foreign governments.
And his entanglements with his old business are extensive. His son Eric has admitted that despite transferring control to him and his brother, Trump still weighs in on family business.
Yet despite his best efforts at corruption, it isn’t producing a torrent of profits. The whole situation is sinking in the depths of ethical muck, weighed down by Trump’s unpopularity and his own egregious behavior.
It is a testament to Trump’s incompetence that his penchant for business failure — including at least four bankruptcies — even extends to his attempts to profit off of the White House.
Trump is trying to sell his cachet to the highest bidder while he occupies the presidency. But the stench of failure and corruption is repelling even those most inclined to line his pockets.