On Saturday, Washington Post investigative reporter David Fahrenthold spoke to MSNBC’s Alex Witt about what the Trump Organization’s latest partial financial disclosures imply for the Trump brand’s viability. His key takeaway: the brand is thriving at properties that can sell access to him — but crashing everywhere else.
“There were high points for him,” said Fahrenthold. “High points generally coincided with places he visited. Places that could simply sell access to the president, along with golf.”
“Specifically, earlier this week you wrote about Trump’s Doral resort and the steep decline that took place after the president took office,” said Witt. “What is status of that? What happened there, and where does it stand now?”
“Doral is the opposite of what I just talked about,” said Fahrenthold. “This is a place that has to survive with Trump’s name, but can’t sell access to the presidency. He never goes there. His people never go there. There’s no way by going there you will run into the president and put an idea in his ear.”
“What we found, looking at data the Trump Administration gave themselves to Miami-Dade county in Florida, was a steep decline after he got into the presidential election. So the money left over after paying expenses dropped by 69 percent at the time,” continued Fahrenthold. “The reason for the decline — the Trump Organization hired a representative to tell the county what accounted for this decline, and she said it’s clear, the reason for the decline is Trump. He’s that unpopular.”
“You’re saying branding, the name Trump, lost value,” said Witt. “You don’t hear that much from somebody who has this kind of a position and association with Trump, right?”
“Right. It’s really interesting,” said Fahrenthold. “She was so clear in the meeting, the answer is Trump, he’s the reason we’re in decline. But if you ask the Trump Organization, Eric Trump himself, no, of course not. Every property they have a different excuse, never the Trump name. In Chicago it’s because of gun violence, in Miami the resort is poor because of Zika and the weather. They have an excuse every time. For them, it’s never the name.”
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