The Coronavirus pandemic has helped drive a newly reported delay in plans for the Trump Organization to sell the lease to its infamous D.C. hotel. The hotel has provided the chance for numerous political interests both from the U.S. and elsewhere to pour money right into the president’s business, and it would be ludicrous to suggest that lavish spending does not weigh on policy decisions. Now, amidst the economic slowdown that has been wrought by attempts to stem the spread of the Coronavirus, the rights to that hotel will remain with the president for a little while longer. (The federal government owns the property.)
Trump Organization sales representative Jeffrey Davis of JLL confirmed the delay in sale plans. He explained:
‘We have toured only the most discerning buyers and are proud to be representing such an iconic asset. Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., is one of the finest hotels anywhere in the world and we look forward to working with the Trump Organization on finding the right fit once the industry is back up and running.’
Who a potential buyer might turn out to be remains to be seen. Reportedly, Sheila Johnson, who co-founded Black Entertainment Television, was among those to put in a bid before the deadline in January.
The halt on the planned D.C. sale comes amidst a dramatic slowdown at the rest of the Trump Organization’s high-profile U.S. properties as well. The Washington Post explains that a full “seven of the Trump Organization’s 10 top-grossing properties were closed” as of Monday, and those that remained open were operating at dramatically reduced levels. Restaurants and bars have been ordered closed around the country — and reportedly, only five percent of the D.C. hotel’s space was even in use recently. More than 550 workers have been laid off at Trump properties around the country.
Recently, new unemployment claims in a single week hit the whopping, record level of 3.3 million, stemming from orders closing nonessential businesses around the country and demanding that those that remained open dial back their in-person services.
Trump’s company “is eligible to benefit from tax changes as well as support its tenant partners receive” in the wake of the recent Coronavirus relief funding package, The Washington Post reports. Democrats lobbied for and successfully got a provision included that prohibited them from an almost half a trillion dollar fund meant to directly financially support struggling businesses with loans and investments. Democrats also nabbed the creation of an inspector general to oversee the distribution of the new financial support for businesses.
Amidst the turmoil, Trump said that he thought landlords would “take it easy” on individuals and businesses around the country struggling to come up with rent.
At a White House press conference, he insisted:
‘I will tell you, I think landlords are going to take it easy. We may put out a statement on that. I think a lot of people that are owed money are going to take it easy. They don’t, sort of, have a choice. But a lot of concessions are made.’
This nonsense is the kind of ineptitude in the face of problems that has defined the president’s Coronavirus response.