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Trump Salary Donation Was 0.1 Percent of Reported $1.6 Billion He Made in Office

Financial disclosures show that Trump earned over $1.6 billion from his own properties, much of it at taxpayer expense.

President Trump leaves after speaking at a Make America Great Again rally at Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Florida, on October 16, 2020.

According to a review of Donald Trump’s financial disclosures by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Trump reported at least $1,613,583,013 in revenue from outside sources during his presidency.

Trump famously touted donating his $400,000 a year presidential salary back to the government while he was in office, but CREW says that that was less than 0.1 percent of the revenue and income that he disclosed for the period of his presidency. “Far from being a sacrifice, the donation was merely a fig leaf to cover up four years of brazen corruption,” wrote CREW’s Jordan Libowitz and Caitlin Moniz.

A large portion of the former president’s Trump Organization revenue came from properties that he would often visit during his presidency, according to the report. Mar-a-Lago, the Trump hotel in D.C. and his golf courses in New Jersey, Florida and D.C. were responsible for over $620 million in revenue for Trump while he was in office, and he visited those properties a combined 399 times, says CREW. In all, Trump visited his properties 547 times over his presidency, CREW found in another report.

The watchdog organization says that some of those properties experienced a dip in revenue from the pandemic, save for two that he often visited during the pandemic, whose revenues stayed the same. This implies that Trump’s visits themselves would bring revenue into the properties.

That finding bolsters previous reporting which has found that millions of taxpayer dollars flowed from the government right into Trump’s properties during his presidency, partially due to his visits.

Trump’s personal profiting resulted largely from his refusal to cut off financial ties to his private-sector life as previous presidents have done. His properties allegedly took not only taxpayer money but also money from the Republican party, Trump committees and affiliated campaigns, leadership PACs and any politician, foreign or domestic, who wanted to impress or please him.

Years of reporting on Trump’s financial conflicts of interest during his presidency have shown that his presidency likely helped to bolster his personal bank account, which many have decried as unethical. The CREW finding shows that the extent to which Trump profited during his presidency was staggering, especially since he had entered the office as the richest person ever to be elected president.

In some cases, Trump’s presidency may even have been responsible for totally turning one of his businesses around: in 2017, the first year of Trump’s presidency, the Trump International Hotel in D.C. had projected losses of $2.1 million in the first four months of the year. Instead, the hotel ended up making nearly $2 million in profit from January to August that year, reported The Washington Post. Despite the fact that the hotel is one of the most expensive in the city, members of Trump’s cabinet and other Republican leaders would often stay there.

Trump’s family, CREW has found, also personally profited from his presidency. Earlier this month, the group found that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner reported between $172 million and $640 million in outside revenue while working for the White House, partially because of Ivanka Trump’s financial stake in the Trump hotel in D.C.

CREW says that it’s impossible to know exactly how much Trump made from his financial disclosures — on the high end of their estimates, he reported $1,790,614,202 in revenue, but vague wording in the disclosures made it hard to tell if he actually pocketed some of that money.

However, more clarity may be coming on Trump’s finances. On Monday, the Supreme Court cleared a path for New York prosecutors to obtain Trump’s federal tax returns and drafts of financial statements from accountants, which will provide detailed insights into his financial situation. In past reporting, The New York Times has found that Trump has a history of dodging taxes and in his first year as president only paid $750 in federal taxes — less than what households making between $20,000 and $25,000 a year pay on average.

Investigators looking into Trump’s finances in a Manhattan attorney’s criminal investigation have their work cut out for them data-wise, but one area of focus may be a shady cash infusion into his campaign from 2016. Tax experts have said that the windfall of $21 million to his campaign that came right as it was running out of money was highly unusual. Still, it is yet unclear as to whether or not the prosecutors will ultimately file charges against Trump or his family.