Time was that Trump Tower was one of the swankiest buildings in New York City. The structure — a big, black rod shooting straight up out of Fifth Avenue in Midtown, mere blocks from a former Trump property, the Plaza Hotel — once held sway to if not one of the country’s most successful businessmen, then arguably its most famous (or most frequently televised). High-end retailers had cartoonishly lavish establishments there. No more. One tumultuous (and costly) presidency later — plus a still ongoing public health crisis that has devastated the city’s office building culture — and it’s reportedly a shadow of its former self.
But not all is bleak. A new Washington Post piece points out that while a number of wealthy tenants have fled (as well as the Secret Service, paid for by taxpayer money), for one reason or another, there is one that is still paying the rent: the Make American Great Political Action Committee, dedicated to the future political aspirations of former president Donald J. Trump. The PAC now operates out of what was once Trump’s campaign offices, paying $37,541.67 a month.
And where are they getting their rent money? From Trump supporters, who keep funneling money into his PAC’s coffers, hoping he’ll make America great again (again). But it’s long been reported that the Trump team has been using that cash for other purposes.
The Post spoke with campaign finance experts, who deemed that, like much of Trump’s dealings over his long career, this isn’t necessarily illegal but it definitely toes the line. “He’s running a con,” Paul S. Ryan, of the watchdog group Common Cause, said straight-up. “Talking about political expenses — but, in reality, raising money for self-enrichment.”
Not so, says Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for the ex-president’s PAC. “We are paying market rate for leased office space used to help President Trump build a financial juggernaut to help elect America First conservatives and flip both the House and Senate to the Republicans in the midterm elections,” she said.
As of the first quarter of 2021, the most recent data available, Trump Tower’s commercial spaces are 75% occupied, which is lower than any of the occupancy rates going back to 2013 — two years before Trump decided to run for office. One business that still remains is the Trump Grill, which continues to be open for business. But for that, we direct you to Vanity Fair’s memorable 2016 review.
(Via The Post)