Trump Sought To Reopen Economy After His Most Profitable Clubs Closed
President Donald Trump had finally jumped on board the idea that the coronavirus pandemic was a public health crisis he should probably take more seriously when he pivoted this week to say the U.S. economy should be reopened by Easter.
The president’s turnabout was curious, particularly given public health officials’ consistent predictions that Americans have yet to face the worst of the crisis, but Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin might have pinpointed Trump’s motivation: his six most profitable clubs had just been forced to close.
Levin directed readers to a Washington Post report revealing Trump’s potential conflict of interest between keeping Americans safe and preserving his own livelihood.
“President Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue,” The Post wrote on Monday. “Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.”
“In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus. As he is trying to manage the pandemic from the White House, limiting its casualties as well as the economic fallout, his company is also navigating a major threat to the hospitality industry,” the report continued. “That threatens to pull Trump in opposite directions, because the strategies that many scientists believe will help lessen the public emergency—like strict, long-lasting restrictions on movement—could deepen the short-term problems of Trump’s private business, by keeping doors shut and customers away.”
Trump’s company has been forced to close properties in Doral, Florida, Las Vegas, Ireland, Scotland, Bedminster, New Jersey, and Palm Beach, Florida — representing the president’s top revenue-producing businesses, Levin noted, collectively generating $174 million per year, or $478,000 per day.