WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s donors — the vast majority of whom are working-class supporters and retirees contributing just a few dollars a month — put $10.5 million into the erstwhile billionaire’s own personal businesses over the course of his presidency, a HuffPost analysis found.
Some $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly. Another $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees.
Through a trust that he controls, Trump owns the hotels, golf courses and buildings that received the money, with every penny of profit flowing to him personally.
Since losing reelection to Democrat Joe Biden, Trump has continued his fundraising, with the vast majority of the money going into a virtual slush fund that Trump can legally use for just about any purpose — from McDonald’s Quarter Pounders to jet fuel for his airplane to hush money payments to women.
“If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you’re Donald Trump, everything looks like a chance to make money,” said Jordan Libowitz with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that has filed multiple lawsuits to obtain details of government spending at Trump’s businesses.
The HuffPost analysis is based on a review of filings by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their two joint fundraising committees, representing all spending reported between Jan. 20, 2017 — Trump’s inauguration day and also the day he opened his reelection account —and Nov. 23, the last date for the final filing period this year.
Trump Tower, the New York City skyscraper where Trump keeps a penthouse residence and his business offices, received $1,716,155 in donor money in the form of rent payments for space in his building, even though the campaign was based in a high-rise office building in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the White House.
Trump’s hotel in Washington, where Trump held several fundraisers, took in $967,599 in donor money. His struggling golf resort near the Miami airport got $1,363,565. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump spent some three months of his presidency playing golf and where he also hosted several fundraisers, received $639,031.
But the biggest beneficiary was Trump’s hotel in New York City, which took in a total of $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign.