It turns out not even Rudy Giuliani’s bar tab could save the Trump International Hotel. The Trump Organization lost at least $70 million since its opening in 2016, even as the grand hotel became a fixture of Trump-era Washington, a place where the president’s loyalists and sycophants alike could gather in a cozy bubble safely away from the fake news and impeachment managers and sip champagne from a spoon and imbibe cocktails starting at $24 a pop.
The Trump family has been threatening to sell it for the past few years, and now it seems they finally have: The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that a Miami-based investment firm, CGI Merchant Group, intends to assume the lease with the federal government for $375 million and turn the Trump Hotel into a Waldorf Astoria.
The hotel had become a liability for a family company that no longer had a steady stream of lobbyists and influence-seekers willing to pay inflated prices for rooms in a hotel that many businesses wouldn’t come near because of the association with Trump. It was by far one of the former president’s biggest conflicts of interest—he refused to relinquish control of the company that ran it. Trump had won the contract to lease the former Old Post Office Pavilion from the federal government by wildly overpaying, and then sinking $200 million into renovations, paid for with $170 million borrowed from Deutsche Bank. That loan, and others, comes due in 2024. Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee is continuing to probe how Trump handled hotel-related conflicts of interest, and the DC attorney general is currently suing the Trump Organization, alleging that the nonprofit created to manage Trump’s inauguration improperly misused charitable funds by grossly overpaying the Trump Hotel for event space to enrich the Trump family. Those investigations are likely to continue regardless of who owns the hotel.
For a look back on the brief but sordid history of the DC Trump Hotel, check out this Mother Jones story by Zach Everson, who rode out the Trump years in the lobby of the famous hotel, reporting daily on the who’s who of MAGA-world, foreign nationals, tourists, and outright criminals who populated its bars and restaurants hoping to win favor with the 45th president.