Trump Organization Refutes House Democrat Report on Trump’s Finances
Trump Organization Refutes House Democrat Report on Trump’s Finances

By Samantha Flom and Janice Hisle

The Trump Organization denied on Jan. 4 that former President Donald Trump improperly profited from his presidency, describing House Democrats’ claims to the contrary as “insane.”

A new report published by the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asserts that the 45th president’s businesses took in at least an estimated $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments—including those of China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others—during his term, in violation of the Constitution.

The outlined payments mostly included spending on rent at Trump Tower and Trump World Tower—both in New York—and on stays at the Trump International Hotels in Washington and Las Vegas.

The report also alleges that President Trump allowed those payments to influence his foreign policy moves, citing his decision not to sanction the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)—which leases office space in Trump Tower—as an example.

But Kimberly Benza, a Trump Organization spokesperson, told The Epoch Times via email that such claims were ridiculous.

“That narrative is insane, especially given there is no President in United States history who was tougher on China than Donald Trump… a President who introduced billions and billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on their goods and services,” she said.

Ms. Benza stressed that ICBC—which accounted for roughly $5.4 million of the payments detailed in the report—had been a preexisting, long-term tenant at Trump Tower since 2008—“almost a decade before President Trump entered office.”

As for the remaining funds, Ms. Benza noted that the Trump Organization does not have the “ability or viability” to prevent individuals from making reservations through third-party booking websites.

Nonetheless, she said the company voluntarily implemented a program to track payments from foreign governments, which the company donated to the U.S. Treasury Department annually.

Department records confirm that the company donated $151,470 in 2018, $191,538 in 2019, $105,465 in 2020, and $10,577 in 2021, bringing the total to $459,050.

Eric Trump, the former president’s son and the executive vice president of his company, noted that information has been publicly available for years.

“I would tweet a picture of the checks that I sent every single year,” he told The Epoch Times. But some mainstream media outlets—and the Democrats’ report—failed to note that fact.

He also pointed out that, while his father disconnected himself from the family’s business when he became president, the opposite was true of Hunter Biden. The first son, Mr. Trump said, got into foreign business dealings when his father became vice president.

“We’ve been in the hotel industry for more than 40 years.”

Dueling Investigations

The Democrats’ report follows their multiyear investigation into whether President Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

The clause, found under Article I, Section 9, prohibits any person holding “any office of profit or trust” under the United States from accepting any “present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever” from a foreign leader or state without the consent of Congress.

The investigation sparked a court battle over President Trump’s financial records, which the lawmakers subpoenaed in 2019. The 2022 settlement that ended the dispute required Mazars USA, the Trump Organization’s long-time accounting firm, to turn over certain documents to the House Oversight Committee, which was then under Democrat leadership.

But when Republicans took control of the House last year, they stopped pursuing those records, focusing their investigative efforts on the Biden family’s foreign business dealings.

The Democrats’ report points to that move as the reason for its lack of a “more comprehensive account” of all the foreign emoluments they believe President Trump to have accepted.

“We still don’t know the extent of the foreign payments that Donald Trump received—or even the total number of countries that paid him and his businesses while he was President—because Committee Chairman James Comer and House Republicans buried any further evidence of the Trump family’s staggering corruption,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Oversight Democrat, charged in a Jan. 4 statement.

“Despite these efforts, today’s report makes clear that former President Trump put lining his pockets with cash from foreign governments seeking policy favors over the interests of the American people.”

‘Desperate to Save Face’

The former president’s staff and advisers see the report differently.

For Ms. Benza, it’s confirmation that House Democrats are “desperate to save face” amid Republicans’ ongoing investigations of President Joe Biden and his family members.

“There is a large difference between someone who leases commercial office space to a foreign company a decade ago … versus the son and family members of the Vice President extracting money from China, Ukraine, and Romania and others while providing no apparent or tangible goods and services,” she said. “It would be dishonest to not clearly distinguish between the two.”

That view was echoed by Jason Meister, a member of President Trump’s campaign advisory panel in New York, who told The Epoch Times that there is no valid comparison between President Biden’s family finances and the Trump family’s businesses.

“Democrats desperately want you to believe that diplomats in D.C. reserving hotel rooms or buying candied bacon at the Trump Hotel over four years is the same thing as Joe Biden converting his son into a bag man, to collect and then split with him the millions in graft he took from all around the world,” Mr. Meister said.

He added, on a humorous note, “That bacon is really good by the way! I don’t blame the diplomats.”

Mr. Meister said that, in his opinion, “Joe Biden is handily the most corrupt human being to ever occupy the Oval Office. The Biden family peddled influence in exchange for bribes.”

President Biden, for his part, has maintained that he had no knowledge of or involvement in his family members’ business affairs.

House Republicans are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry into the matter.

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