Now that Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States, he’ll need to decide what to do with the businesses that helped make him famous.
Trump is the chairman and president of the Trump Organisation, a conglomerate that owns properties around the world including commercial spaces, hotels, and golf courses. While the Trump Organisation is primarily a real estate holding company, it also owns brands including the reality show “The Apprentice,” books such as “The Art of the Deal,” and Trump Natural Spring Water.
Trump has said he plans to separate himself from the company, handing control over to the next generation. His three oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, currently serve as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organisation.
“If I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts,” Trump said in a Fox Business debate in January. “I want to use that same — up here, whatever it may be — to make America rich again, and to make America great again. I have Ivanka and Eric and Don sitting there… with my executives. And I wouldn’t ever be involved, because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country.”
The president-elect has not given any indication that he has changed his decision in the months since.
In late October, George Stephanopoulos, ABC News’ chief anchor, asked Trump’s three oldest children if they plan to stay in the family business if their father is elected president.
“It’s what we do,” Donald Jr. said. “We’re builders.”
The Trump Organisation did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Trump never released his tax returns during his campaign for president, making it difficult to judge how wealthy he really is. A financial disclosure form that Trump was required to fill out revealed in May that he has at least $1.47 billion in assets. Trump has boasted that he is worth more than $10 billion.
Most US presidents put their investments in a blind trust, managed by an independent trustee, to avoid potential conflicts of interest for the length of their presidency, NPR reported.
However, since Trump’s name is so closely tied to his business, attempting to separate the president-elect’s decisions as a politician from those of businessman would prove to be complicated.
Looking forward to January and beyond, it seems unlikely that Trump’s businesses and politics will be able to truly become untangled.
While Trump has said he is more than happy to step down from his role at Trump Organisation, throughout his campaign he took advantage of opportunities to promote his brand. In October, for example, Trump took time off from campaigning to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the White House.
Trump’s presidential campaign was intertwined with his business — and not in a way that benefitted the president-elect. Visits to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses have slumped since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, according to data collected by Foursquare.
However, that might change after the election.
A post-Election Day overnight survey conducted by brand engagement firm Brand Keys revealed that the value of adding Trump’s name to a brand has rebounded to levels close to or exceeding measures seen just prior to his announced presidential candidacy in April 2015. Running for president may have hurt Donald Trump’s businesses, but it seems that becoming president will likely turn things around.
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