Trump Hotels Swap Usual Charities, Guests for Clients Seeking Political Influence

President’s divisive politics have reshaped his business empire, The Washington Post reports

There is little doubt that President Trump is a polarizing figure. But, as it turns out, the effects of his charged and often inconsistent rhetoric have rippled beyond the political realm and into his own business, The Washington Post reported.

“Trump-owned hotels and clubs have long made money by holding galas and other special events,” a WaPo report by David A. Fahrenthold, Amy Brittain and Matea Gold posits. “Now, their clientele is changing. Trump’s properties are attracting new customers who want something from him or his government.”

Trump’s aforementioned businesses have been hemorrhaging their normal clientele, comprised of “nonpolitical groups who just wanted to rent a room,” the report outlines, pointing to charities, including a shelter for victims of domestic violence called Safe+Sound Somerset, which decided to take its long-standing Trump business elsewhere in an act of political defiance.

“Before this year, many longtime Trump clients said they would return to use his clubs again — believing that quitting a Trump club would be a political act. Now, as Trump’s presidency has grown more polarizing, some customers say they see it as a political act to stay,” the report says.

Indeed, according to WaPo, a new type of client was drawn to Trump’s Florida business: Conservative activist Steven M. Alembik, who is “planning a $600-per-seat gala at the Mar-a-Lago Club.”

“His logic: Trump helped Israel. So Alembik will help Trump in return,” the report says. “He’s got Israel’s back,” Alembik said, according to WaPo. “We’ve got his back.”

Charity events held at Mar-a-Lago alone have suffered a steep decline since Trump has taken office — specifically after the president’s widely-derided remarks following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the report.

This summer alone, 19 charities cancelled events there, WaPo says, including one on Saturday from a triathlon called “Tri at the Trump,” the group’s organizer citing a drop in signups this year “due to concerns over the name.”

The Post mapped a sample of more than 200 groups that had paid for Trump hotels or clubs since 2014. Of them, “85 are no longer Trump customers,” the paper reported. “Many said they left for nonpolitical reasons. But 30 told The Post that they had left because of Trump’s political career.”

Meanwhile those looking to curry favor with the president are flocking to his hotels, the Post reports — including the prime minister of Malaysia, “who is the subject of a Justice Department corruption probe, as well as the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, which wants more offshore drilling.”