Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

FIERCE INDEPENDENT MEDIA IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER. PLEASE SUPPORT COMMON DREAMS THIS #GIVINGTUESDAY

Our staff has grown and our coverage of the climate emergency, COVID-19, and rising authoritarianism has intensified over the last two years. But, our expenses during the pandemic have gone up as well. This has been one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Donations are down. Traffic to the website from Google and Facebook have inexplicably fallen off a cliff. If we have any chance of meeting our fundraising targets for the year, we need this to be the best #GivingTuesday ever. Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers ever make a donation. We're counting on you. Can you make that gift today to help Common Dreams end the year strong?

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

The Trump International Hotel on its first day of business September 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

The Trump International Hotel on its first day of business September 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The Trump Organization was granted a 60-year lease to the historic Old Post Office by the federal government before Donald Trump announced his intent to run for president. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

'Oh, Hi, Corruption': Trump Organization Seeks Rent Relief for DC Hotel From Trump Administration

"Whoever would have imagined this relationship would prove complicated and fraught? Oh, right, the Founders. Who prohibited it. In the Constitution."

Jessica Corbett

In a revelation Tuesday that swiftly elicited allegations of corruption, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump's family business—from which he has refused to divest—is seeking rent relief for his infamous D.C. hotel from his own administration, as the global hotel industry continues to struggle with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Oh, hi, corruption," tweeted television writer J. Holtham. Journalist Renee Montagne said she was "not sure whether to laugh or cry."

"No swamp to drain here, folks. Move along," remarked Tim Karr of Free Press, referencing one of Trump's campaign pledges from 2016.

The 263-room Trump International Hotel is operated by the Trump Organization within a federally owned building mere blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. The president's company negotiated a 60-year lease for the space in 2013 and pays the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) almost $268,000 per month.

Although the Trump Organization announced plans to sell the hotel lease last year, the company's sales representative Jeffrey Davis confirmed to the Washington Post in late March that sale plans were now on hold because of how the pandemic has affected the commercial real estate industry.

As the Times reported Tuesday:

The Trump Organization is current on its rent, according to Eric Trump, the president's son, but he confirmed that the company had opened a conversation about possible delays in future monthly payments.

The younger Mr. Trump said the company was asking the GSA for any relief that it might be granting other federal tenants. The president still owns the company, but his eldest sons run the day-to-day operations.

"Just treat us the same," Eric Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. "Whatever that may be is fine."

The newspaper noted that "the Trump Organization was barred by Congress from seeking relief from the $500 billion rescue fund being administered by the Treasury Department, and a Trump Organization executive said on Tuesday that the company had decided not to apply for a federal loan through the Small Business Administration. The company argues that it is seeking only temporary relief from the GSA while the hotel industry globally copes with an extraordinary drop in business."

Trump's White House and the GSA didn't respond to the Times' requests for comment.

However, political commentators, journalists, and advocacy groups were quick to weigh in:

Critics often pointed to previous arguments that Donald Trump's continued ownership of the hotel runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause, given that it has been frequented by special interest groups and foreign officials throughout his presidency.

The Trump Organization hasn't just sought relief from the GSA during the public health crisis.

"The company has been talking with Deutsche Bank, the president's largest creditor, about the possibility of postponing payments on its loans from the bank," according to the Times. "Mr. Trump owes Deutsche Bank more than $300 million on loans connected to the Washington hotel, his Doral golf resort in Florida, and a skyscraper in downtown Chicago."

In Florida, the Trump Organization in late March sought guidance from Palm Beach County about whether it had to continue making monthly payments on land that the company leases for its 27-hole Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, according to people briefed on the discussions and documents reviewed by the New York Times.

This month, the Trump Organization was about a week late on its monthly lease payment of about $88,000, according to county documents. Company executives are still seeking guidance from Palm Beach County about whether they are expected to keep making lease payments with the golf industry shut down.

Eric Trump confirmed ongoing negotiations with Palm Beach County to the Times and echoed his comments regarding the GSA request. "In Florida, the very county that mandated we close is the very county collecting rent," he said. "What are they doing for others? Just treat us the same."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo