Forbes researchers walked through the four years of Donald Trump's presidency and calculated what they estimate to be the total profits that his businesses made.
Writing Monday, Forbes explained that they estimated Trump's business brought in a hefty $2.4 billion while he was president.
"His real money came from the business he refused to divest, not from his government salary," the report explained. They used documents, some of which had just become available in the past few weeks, to draw conclusions about the total profits. They used property records, ethics disclosures, debt documents, and securities filings that all add up to the billions Trump got from Jan. 2017 to Dec. 2020.
Forbes gathered that Trump's main point of revenue came from club and golf sales at $943 million and $781 million in commercial real estate. Licensing, management, and hotel businesses brought in $466 million while property sales account for $118 million. Forbes added in $110 million for "other."
They explained that if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't hit the hospitality world so hard that Trump would have pulled in another $200 million.
"Trump National Doral, the golf resort in Miami, contributed roughly $270 million to that total. Mar-a-Lago, Trump's club in Palm Beach, brought in about $90 million. A New Jersey golf club, where the former president has been spending time this summer, took in $60 million or so," said the report.
The report explained that all of that cash didn't exactly go into Trump's pocket, as golf clubs are among some of the most expensive to manage with a minimum of 20 percent overhead in a good year.
"During the pandemic, Trump's traditional courses fared reasonably well, but his golf resorts had to contend with long shutdowns, causing his overall golf and club revenues to drop 27 percent to an estimated $190 million in 2020," said the report.
Trump's saving grace during COVID lockdowns were his long leases that were locked into his commercial properties. But the hotels didn't do well at all.
"Estimated revenues stayed well above $100 million from 2017 to 2019 but dropped closer to $50 million in 2020," said Forbes. "No part of Trump's portfolio was more poorly positioned to withstand such a blow, given the debt load against his hotels."
His Washington, D.C. hotel "flatlined," the report explained. Between 2017 and 2019, Trump got about $52 million out of it. It wasn't even enough to cover the interest on the $170 million loans from Deutsche Bank. During the pandemic, however, those profits dropped to $20 million.
"It's no wonder the Trump Organization tried to sell the place," said Forbes.
Trump never divested from any of his assets as he promised that he would do while running in 2016. Instead, he had his two sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump running the business.