How Do You Spell Rent Relief?

With most of the American economy shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is especially heart-breaking that so many furloughed workers, gig contractors and struggling businesses are simply unable to make their monthly rent payments. Congressional relief has assisted many to ride out the storm, but is it any surprise that even such a noble gesture favors the rich who get preferential treatment at their local banks when applying for government-provided loans.

Then there is the President. He happens to have his name on a hotel within sight of the White House which foreign dignitaries and Republican sycophants use as their location of choice while paying homage to Mr. Trump when visiting Washington, DC. In just another example of how the current administration has “drained the swamp,” the Trump International Hotel, which is owned by the Trump Organization, but ostensibly run by son Eric, has become a living breathing monument to the evisceration of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which just happens to prohibit the President from receiving any benefit from a foreign state, the federal government, or any of the states, other than his salary.

Many renters, without much success, have sought relief from their landlords to forego monthly rent payments. But the Trump hotel happens to reside in the Old Post Office, an historical site that is located on land that is owned by the federal government and is run by the General Services Administration, an agency of the United States government that helps operate the basic functions of all other federal agencies. So, in just another brazen example of an administration that sees no conflicts when it comes to the President’s business, the hotel is seeking relief from its monthly rent of $267,763 that it owes to, you guessed it, the GSA. Since the President appoints the head of the GSA, the hotel is effectively seeking relief from itself.

While the hotel, like most others, has had its business dry up due to the pandemic, and son Eric only wants it to be treated “the same” as everyone else, either way the GSA is in a damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t situation, either pissing off its boss or being accused of favoritism. Of course, if this were a normal president, his business holdings would have either been divested or placed in an inviolable trust. But not in this reality TV show of an administration.

Adding to the unseemliness of it all, the hotel also is petitioning its chief creditor, Deutsche Bank, to which it owes $300 million, for some forbearance in paying back the loan. The bank, everyone’s favorite money launderer, just happens to be subject to an investigation by the Department of Justice for said activities, but you can be sure that Attorney General William Barr has his boss’s back on that front.

So, what can we learn from this latest example of the clear-cut conglomeration of conflicts that permeates our current government? Well, for one, if you are having problems paying your rent, you can take out a loan that you can’t repay from a friendly foreign bank, and take over your landlord. Then offer him a deal he can’t refuse.


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