Businesses controlled by President Donald Trump and his children would be prohibited from receiving loans or investments from Treasury Department programs included in a $2 trillion stimulus plan agreed to early Wednesday by White House and Senate leaders in response to the coronavirus crisis.
The provision, which was touted by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in an early-morning letter to colleagues, would also apply to Vice President Pence, members of Congress and heads of federal departments, as well as their children, spouses and in-laws.
During a television interview Wednesday morning, Schumer stressed that the provision applies not only to Trump but to “any major figure in government.”
“That makes sense. Those of us who write the law shouldn’t benefit from the law,” Schumer said on CNN.
The Senate plans to vote later Wednesday on the massive package, which aims to flood the economy with capital by sending $1,200 checks to many Americans, creating a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and setting up a $500 billion fund for industries, cities and states. The House is expected to act in coming days.
Trump’s dual roles as both chief executive of the nation and owner of a sprawling business empire has been frequently criticized by Democrats, who accuse him of trying to profit from the presidency.
Representatives of the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.
Trump’s private business has now shuttered nine of its hotels and clubs, including six of its top seven revenue-producers. These closures — including shutdowns at Trump Doral in Miami, Trump Turnberry in Scotland, the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Trump hotel in Las Vegas — could cost the Trump Organization millions in lost revenue.
The closed properties accounted for $209 million in revenue in 2018, according to Trump’s financial disclosures, which works out to about $573,000 per day. The filings do not say if these clubs turned a profit, before the virus hit. Much of their revenue is likely to be lost, as long as the clubs and hotels remain closed.
And the Trump properties that remain open – including hotels in Chicago and Washington – are operating at just a sliver of their normal capacity, with restaurants and bars closed. Already, the Trump Organization has laid off or furloughed more than 550 people so far, from its hotels in New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Washington, according to government filings and tallies from hotel workers’ unions.
Before the virus, the Trump Organization had received more than $628,000 in payments from the federal government, by charging the Secret Service to house the agents who accompany Trump on his many visits to his own properties. The company has not responded to questions asking if it will seek federal aid now.
The provision to ban Trump and other officials from benefiting from Treasury Department programs in the stimulus bill was among 19 items highlighted by Schumer in his letter to colleagues describing the contents of the bill.
“Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has secured a provision in the agreement that will prohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs,” Schumer’s office said in an email to reporters early Wednesday touting the provision. “The children, spouses and in-laws of the aforementioned principals are also included in this prohibition.”
The Trump Organization had not indicated as of earlier this week whether it would seek bailout funds from the stimulus bill.
On Sunday, Trump was asked whether his business would abstain from any federal bailout. He did not give a clear answer.
“Everything’s changing, just so you understand; it’s all changing,” he said. “But I have no idea.”
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · John Wagner, David A. Fahrenthold