President Donald Trump acknowledges that foreign leaders sometimes rent out rooms in his hotels, but still thinks being president of the United States is “one of the great losers of all times” from a financial perspective.
Trump made the remarks in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, complaining that the job of being president does not boost his economic prospects.
“This job is from an economic — you know, I get a kick out of these people saying ‘Oh, a rich Arab stayed at his hotel,’ you know, I’ll bet you between opportunity cost and actual cost, you know but I lost massive amounts of money doing this job. This is not the money. This is, this is one of the great losers of all time. You know fortunately I don’t need money. This is one of the great losers of all time. But they’ll say that somebody from some country stayed at a hotel. And I’ll say ‘Yeah.’ But I lose, I mean, the numbers are incredible.”
Trump made the comments after complaining that he is treated badly by the press. In the excerpts released from the Times interview, Trump did not elaborate further on just how much money he believes he should make off the presidency.
Several foreign governments have hosted events at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
The Kuwaiti embassy held an independence day party at the hotel in both 2018 and 2017. The Philippines’ independence day party was also hosted at the hotel last year. In 2016, after Trump won the presidential election, the hotel hosted the embassy of Bahrain’s national day party, as well as a Hanukkah party co-hosted by the embassy of Azerbaijan.
In 2017, the former Mexican ambassador said that a former U.S. diplomat told him the State Department was advising world leaders to stay at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel when they visit the capital for official purposes.
Trump has a long business relationship with the Saudi government that has continued into his presidency. The Washington Post reported last month that lobbyists for the Saudi government paid for about 500 nights at the Trump hotel in the three months following Trump’s 2016 victory. The general manager at Trump’s hotel in New York — which the Trump Organization manages — credited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his entourage for the sharp uptick in the hotel’s revenue in early 2018.
Maryland and District of Columbia attorneys general have brought forward a lawsuit arguing that Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments as president. The Constitution’s emoluments clause bans public officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The case is currently tied up in court.
An inspector general report last month found that the General Services Administration overlooked the emoluments clause when it allowed Trump to keep the lease at his hotel in Washington, D.C., following his presidential win.