An impeachment on the table, a suspended Twitter account, several economic setbacks: the outgoing president of the United States, Donald Trump, is already suffering the immediate consequences of the assault on the Capitol on January 6. But the future of the former president, with a strong base of supporters, is still uncertain in the long term and he contemplates, at least for now, the possibility of running again for the White House in 2024.
Donald Trump came to the White House thanks to his image as a powerful businessman with inflammatory rhetoric. Four years later, he leaves the US Presidency with clouds on both the political and economic fronts. What does the future hold for this businessman-turned-president?
The facts speak for themselves. The tycoon already faces problems in his companies: the Trump Organization, his main business asset, has received some economic punishments in recent days, in a kind of reckoning after his followers’ attack on the Capitol on January 6, which today he has him in his second political trial, accused of “incitement to insurrection.”
Additionally, Trump is also under investigation for his tax bills. Both investigations are deeply linked, since the Republican takes advantage of the impeachment trial to feed the version that there is a persecution against him. The constitutional lawyer Jorge Jáuregui explains it like this: “Outside of office he would no longer have any protection. Seeking protection may be motivating him to undertake a political campaign before he is four years old to be able to insist that what is on him is a hunt for witches “.
In fact, the alleged tax evasion for which it is indicated “carries a criminal consequence,” recalls Jáuregui. If ultimately found guilty, Trump’s future could even include a prison sentence.
A bleak immediate business future
In a matter of days, one by one, several business conglomerates were announcing their severance of business relations with Trump’s companies. Deutsche Bank, which made loans to the former president to finance his hotels in Washington and Chicago, decided to eliminate any future financial relationships. Signature Bank, through which it capitalized its golf course in Florida, did the same.
The Mayor of New York announced that it is suspending all contracts with the Trump Organization, contracts that amounted to more than 17 million dollars, including the iconic ice skating rink in Central Park. The Professional Golf Association (PGA) stated that it will no longer play its 2022 championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, in New Jersey, to avoid affecting the reputation of its brand. E-commerce provider Shopify has shut down TrumpStore.com, which hosted all online stores under its name.
But the Trump Organization was already approaching twilight before. Many of its golf and resort properties had been losing money, especially during the pandemic, which forced the closure of some bars and restaurants and drastically reduce occupancy at its hotels, including one of its luxury hostels a few blocks from the White House. Forbes reported that the Republican’s fortune would have taken a billion-dollar hit due to Covid-19.
“I don’t think there will be a reversal, his situation will worsen more and more, like a snowball. The damage is very serious, I do not think there will be a reversal of any kind, it is like the case of Odebrech, once the brand falls out of favor there is no setback, “said César Ferrari, doctor in economics from Boston University, to France 24 .
The panorama is aggravated by the problems that the magnate faces with the treasury. According to documents cited by The New York Times, Trump paid no income taxes for 10 of the past 15 years, after reporting that he had lost far more money from livestock. In addition, he owes at least $ 400 million in loans, although the president has said that only represents “a small percentage” of his net worth.
“His empire was actually more of a shell, and Trump took advantage of the US Presidency to fill it in. Once that situation has disappeared, it becomes very complicated, even more so if it runs out of funding (…) I think the White House gave it an umbrella for four years and that umbrella has now been lost, ”Ferrari said.
For other experts, Trump’s corporate seal is so affected that, at least for some of his companies, he should consider a name change. “Trump lives on his name, but if what they want is to maintain certain businesses it would be convenient to change it, because there are going to be companies that will never want to have any connection with him,” Antonio Ortiz, vice president of Albright Stonebridge Group and former boss, responds to France24 of economic affairs of the Mexican embassy in the United States.
Ortiz recalls that “there are also going to be civil society organizations linked to human rights, defense of migrants, anti-racism, transparency and democracy and climate change that are going to put severe pressure on any company that wants to link with Trump. The Trump brand is toxic , it’s over”.
Trump, an untraditional former president, including his future job
Trump will count, like all the other ex-presidents, an annual pension that until 2017 was $ 207,800, regulated under the Ex-Presidents Law that justifies the pension to “maintain the dignity” of the position. Former heads of state in this country also receive lifetime Secret Service protection, health benefits, travel, and personnel expenses.
His predecessor Jimmy Carter dedicated himself to humanitarian causes; George W. Bush made his debut as a painter and released his memoirs, among other activities; Barack Obama signed book, conference and documentary deals. But Trump has never been a traditional politician. He sought the planet’s attention, he got it, and he won’t throw it away, some analysts agree.
Your financial challenges could spell the end for any other hotel company. However, executives of his corporation have indicated that they will capitalize on the former president’s global fame with brand agreements abroad. “There has never been a more supportive political figure behind my father,” Eric Trump, the mogul’s son, who helps run the family business, said in a Jan. 11 statement. “There will be no shortage of incredible opportunities in real estate and beyond,” he noted.
The outgoing president is also no stranger to the world of television after his profitable participation in the reality show “The Apprentice”, which is why the US press indicates its ambition to get involved again in the media, either with its own television channel or collaborating with the already established conservative media network.
The New York Times reported that the Trump family is considering launching a media team, with the aim of attracting the millions of supporters that the former president still has, a boost that gained urgency by the closure of his Twitter account and other social networks. after the unusual attack on the US Legislature.
The consequences of the second impeachment
Beyond Trump’s economic and business future, the former president will also have to fight several political and legal battles in the coming months or years. For starters, Trump faces his second impeachment, driven by Democrats who not only want to remove the president but also block his future aspirations for political office.
If a majority of 67 senators finds Trump guilty of inciting the insurrection, the Upper House could host a second vote on his lifetime political disqualification, which only needs a simple majority of 61 votes to pass.
However, “it is going to be very difficult to judge, Biden himself has been quite subdued. Obviously, he has tried to carry out a coup, a self-coup (…) This will remain intact because it will be difficult for them to get the votes. The Republican Party is going to avoid confronting Trump so as not to lose his followers, many who are not even Republicans, will tolerate him to seek to come to power again ”, considers Jáuregui.
For Roger Peñalver, another constitutional lawyer, the outgoing president’s political influence will be seen in future primaries. “Trump continues to be frowned upon by a large part of Republican voters (…) Although the party knows that to win the general election Trump is toxic, in order to win the primaries they have to march in search of Trump. They fear that if they go against him, Trump himself will go to the Republican primaries and liquidate them, he will ask his fans to go out and punish any politician who has not defended him in this process, “says the lawyer. constitutionalist.
Legal disputes await Trump outside the White House
As president, Trump has benefited from exceptional protection. But once out of the Oval Office, the mogul will face other lawsuits that prosecutors will continue to corner him with in his immediate future.
The president is under investigation for alleged tax and bank fraud, real estate fraud, violation of emolument rules and alleged sexual harassment. Also the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, is advancing in an investigation related to alleged secret payments of money to two women, who say they were bribed to keep silent about alleged extramarital relations with Trump. In addition, his niece Mary Trump filed a lawsuit against him and two other relatives for fraud and conspiracy, accusing them that they wanted to deceive her to take away the family inheritance.
It is still premature to know what the resolutions will be in these cases, but Trump will continue to seek political and economic support. “He has supporters who, whatever he does, will want to continue supporting him and may end up leaning on them to try to regain his solvency a little,” says Jáuregui.
The outgoing president received 71.5 million votes in the last November 3 election, a record for a losing candidate in a presidential election, showing that he still maintains a significant base of support among the American public. And with which he intends to return to the White House in the 2024 elections, if all other obstacles allow him.
With Reuters, EFE and local media