Like most DWT readers, I would like to see Trump rotting in prison for the rest of his miserable life. Alas, that's probably as likely as me waking up tomorrow with a pet unicorn in my backyard. But this morning Wall Street Journal reporters Brian Spegele and Caitlin Ostroff painted a different kind of hell that awaits a post-Oval Office Trump, one that may be a more realistic expectation--a reckoning for his business, sparked by "some of the deepest financial and legal challenges in his family business empire in decades. No matter what he focuses on after the presidency, the businesses will require his attention. Two New York investigations will continue after he leaves office and the Trump Organization will need to avert a potential cash crunch caused by looming debt maturities at the firm’s real estate holdings. Personal guarantees Mr. Trump made on some of the organization’s debt add urgency to shoring up its financial position."
Expanding his business interests into China may not be as easy as it once looked, since he is now loathed and distrusted there. And his brand is not just crap in Europe, some of his trademarks have been eliminated by legal challenges.
Spegele and Ostroff asserted that "the Trump Organization might soon slim down. Several properties are for sale, including its Washington hotel and two skyscrapers in New York and San Francisco that are part-owned by the Trump Organization. The organization also has been considering selling its Seven Springs estate outside of New York" to help avert a lending crunch of more than $400 million of debt due in the next few years. They wrote that "many lenders have indicated they are wary of doing business" with Trump, who has been exposed worldwide as an amoral, ethics-free crook and sociopath.
It is unknown whether Mr. Trump will want to resume an active management role. When elected, he turned over management of the business to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. while keeping ownership. Some Trump associates predict the president will return to his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York. “He won’t be able to help himself,” longtime friend and business partner Phil Ruffin previously told <i>The Journal</i>.
Others, including former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney expect he could run for president again. Mr. Mulvaney said in recent days he “would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people likely to run in 2024.”
Since Mr. Trump launched his run for the presidency in 2015, his businesses have become closely linked with the GOP.
Republican spending at Trump properties has topped $23 million since 2015 compared with less than $200,000 in the five years prior, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Those revenues will likely decline, including $37,000 of monthly rent payments the Trump campaign has made to Trump Tower in New York. The office tower, where the Trump Organization is based, has suffered from falling occupancy rates since Mr. Trump took office...
Financial challenges facing the Trump Organization are compounded by long-running legal issues, with New York probes of Mr. Trump’s businesses set to continue after he leaves office. Mr. Trump has also been contending with an Internal Revenue Service audit of his finances.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, has been pursuing years of Mr. Trump’s financial records, and says criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records are among the laws investigators believe may have been broken. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have sought to block a subpoena for the records, arguing the request was overbroad and issued in bad faith.
Another investigation, by New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, is examining whether Mr. Trump inflated asset values to obtain loans and get other economic and tax benefits. The Trump Organization has called the investigations politically motivated and denied wrongdoing.
Mr. Trump is unusual among U.S. presidents because much of the legal scrutiny he faces today stems from actions before he became president, said Jeffrey Engel, a presidential historian at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“The fact that Trump thought he could run for president and be president with potential clear irregularities in his financial background and not be discovered, that’s the most surprising part to me,” he said. “It reinforces that he did not fully appreciate what it meant to be president.”
With Mr. Trump in the White House, the Trump Organization said it has put foreign deal-making on hold. But Eric Trump said in an interview this summer that growing internationally would be a key focus when his father left office.
Polls suggest that Mr. Trump’s strident nationalism and trade protectionism made him unpopular in many countries, including China, where he previously sought to benefit from the country’s growth.
...In Scotland, meanwhile, the Trump Organization spent more than $100 million to buy and renovate the Trump Turnberry golf resort. That property hasn’t turned a profit since Mr. Trump bought it in 2014, records show. This summer, around 70 staffers at Turnberry were cut, say former employees.
The Trump Organization said it has been investing heavily in Turnberry to make it one of the world’s top golf resorts.
Those challenges notwithstanding, the Trump family says it believes the president’s supporters will stick with them. For example, Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., will still be a draw, said member Whitney Schneider. “People will always want to see Mar-a-Lago and they’ll always want to see where the president lives,” she said.
Can a family maintain billionaire status as notorious grifters? I'm sure they plan to try and for at least a few years, they should be very successful at it, given the relationship between Señor T and 72,936,343 American voters (47.3%). And Trump is also popular among large segments of the population in fascist countries like Hungary and Israel. As Ron Reagan, Jr. noted last month, "We've got a bunch of grifters there in the White House."