Republicans claim that they spend boatloads of money at Trump properties not because it’s a great way to suck up to Donald Trump but because the hotels and resorts are just so nice. It’s an obvious lie, and one that can be easily blown up by looking at a few key numbers. Like $69,000. That’s the amount that campaigns and political groups spent at Trump businesses between 2012 and 2014. These days $16,000 probably isn’t even a good week of Trump Organization revenue from political sources—shoot, just one holiday party being hosted by Attorney General William Barr will cost $30,000.
In fact, political organizations have spent $8.3 million at Trump businesses since the 2016 election, according to a report from Public Citizen. The expenditures range from a couple hundred dollars on hotel rooms up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple events. The biggest spender is the Trump campaign itself, giving the Trump Organization nearly $3.8 million in business. The Republican National Committee, showing Trump’s total ownership of the party, has spent $1.6 million. Trump Victory has spent $991,000 and America First Action is in for $545,000. The Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., has reaped $2.5 million in political spending, with one of its restaurants getting an additional $191,000.
But the 192 political campaigns or political groups—30 of which spent $10,000 or more—aren’t the only ethically questionable expenditures at Trump properties. They’re joined by 28 foreign governments, officials, or political groups and 51 U.S. businesses or business groups. Everyone knows that spending money at and praising properties owned by Donald Trump is a great way to get on Trump’s good side, and everyone knows that Trump doesn’t hesitate to base his official actions on his personal good (or bad) feelings about someone—good feelings that are so easily purchased.
If all those claims about how these political groups and businesses and foreign governments were spending millions at Trump hotels because Trump hotels are just so gosh-darned great were true, then the expenditures wouldn’t have spiked when Trump became president. The numbers tell the story here.