Trump just used a press briefing to plug two of his hotels, claiming he's not 'involved' despite profiting from them

Joanna Taylor
Monday 20 April 2020 13:00
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Donald Trump plugged two of his hotels during a press conference, claiming not to be "involved" in them despite still making money from them.

When Las Vegas Review-Journal journalist Debra Saunders asked Trump about the economic impact of the lockdown in Las Vegas, he said:

Well they shut one of my hotels down too. Now, I'm not involved in that. I could be if I wanted to, I just chose not to be. By the way, just so you know, I could be if I wanted to but I chose not.

Contrary to his not being involved, Trump retained a financial stake in the Trump Organisation which owns his hotels on becoming president, despite having promised to put his assets in a "blind trust" during his campaign. He did relinquish his role at the Trump Organisation, handing down executive control of some areas of the business to his sons, but no such trust ever materialised.

On top of this, Trump owns a penthouse on the 61st floor of his Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.

Later in the press conference, Trump discussed the impact of coronavirus measures on his other hotels.

My wonderful place in Florida, in Miami, Doral, they had to let a lot of the employees go, 'cause it's essentially closed. You can't use it, you can't have the restaurants, so you have to close it down.

The Trump Organisation has indeed fired staff from its hotels as well as furloughing nearly 2,000 more, according to a report by CNN.

This is in spite of the Trump National Doral hotel previously earning up to $9m a year.

During the press conference, Trump was asked to weigh in on the argument erupting across the United States as to whether businesses should remain closed to protect people from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, or reopen to offset possible economic destruction.

On 1 April, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak reissued his directive that people should stay at home for non-essential activities, saying he was putting "Nevadans ahead of dollars".

Meanwhile, Las Vegas's mayor Carolyn Goodman called the lockdown "total insanity", claiming that the squeeze on the tourism industry from closed hotels and casinos is "killing us already".

Protesters against the continued lockdown orders have recently gathered throughout the state.

But Trump appeared to side more with Governor Sisolak on the lockdown, saying:

It's a very severe step he took. I'm okay with it. But, you know, you could call that one either way.

According to a Forbes estimate, Trump's net worth has plummeted by $1bn during the coronavirus outbreak, in part owing to a dip in his hospitality holdings. In fact, these have more than halved in value to $38m. ​

Trump's personal fortune still stands at around $2.1bn, and he continues to make money from his hotels.

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