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FACT SHEET: President Trump’s Shady Business Dealings With The Chinese Government

May 10, 2023

Earlier today, Representative James Comer held a press conference—hyped for weeks as “judgment day” for President Biden—that failed to present a shred of evidence that connected to the president. At the same time, it has been over a hundred days since Comer said he and his House Oversight Committee would investigate former president Trump’s influence peddling. Republicans have not sent any letters, requested any information, or announced any hearings on potential investigations into the Trump family’s influence peddling and corruption. And there is plenty of evidence clearly showing that Trump profited off his name and connections while he was in office—we have laid out all the evidence at as part of a monthslong, six-figure campaign demanding that Comer and Republicans investigate Trump family corruption and influence peddling. If Comer actually cared about potential influence peddling and corruption, he would be investigating these potential conflicts of interest instead of baseless political stunts.

Trump Has Extensive Financial Ties To The Chinese Government

President Trump Collected Millions From Chinese Government-Owned Entities While In Office. “President Donald Trump…has in fact collected millions of dollars from government-owned entities in China since he took office. […] Trump properties leased by the Industrial Bank of China, paying about $1.9 million in annual rent, contributed at least $5.4 million in business inflows during the Trump presidency.” [Forbes, 10/23/20]

“I Have The Best Tenants In The World:” President Trump Was Well-Aware Of The Multi-Million Dollar Lease To Chinese Interests. “The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China signed a lease for space in 2008, years before the president took office, paying about $1.9 million in annual rent. Trump is well-aware of the deal. ‘I’ll show you the Industrial Bank of China,’ he told three Forbes journalists touring Trump Tower in 2015. ‘I have the best tenants in the world in this building.’” [Forbes, 10/23/20]

President Trump Promised To Donate Foreign Government Profits While In Office—But He Donated Less Than A Third Of His Proceeds From The Chinese Government. “The president planned to donate all foreign government profits at his hotel to the U.S. Treasury […] it sure doesn’t seem like the Trump Organization handed over all their profits from the deal with the Chinese. The Trump Organization reportedly donated a total of $343,000 to the U.S. Treasury in 2017 and 2018, Trump’s first two years as president. […] “[T]hat money…coming from the Chinese government…adds up to $1.2 million—or more than three times what the Trump Organization reportedly gave to the Treasury.” [Forbes, 10/23/20]

President Trump Maintained Three Foreign Bank Accounts While In Office—Including One In China. “Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company. And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Mr. Trump maintains a bank account…” [New York Times, 10/20/20]

President Trump’s Business With China Raised Legal and Ethics Concerns. “The arrangement posed legal concerns, since the U.S. Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state” without Congressional approval. Ethics experts, who have often focused on the president’s hotel in Washington, D.C., argued that the president would be in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause from the moment he took office.” [Forbes, 10/23/20]

President Trump: “President Xi Loves The People Of China, He Loves His Country, And He’s Doing A Very Good Job.” “Speaking to the press on February 18, the President praised the Chinese government again. ‘I think President Xi is working very hard,’ Trump said. ‘As you know, I spoke with him recently. He’s working really hard. It’s a tough problem. I think he’s going to do — look, I’ve seen them build hospitals in a short period of time. I really believe he wants to get that done, and he wants to get it done fast. Yes, I think he’s doing it very professionally.’ Asked if he trusted the data from China, the President declined to answer the question, instead, again, praising the Chinese President. ‘Look, I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation,’ he said.” [CNN, 3/25/20]

Trump Benefited From Trademarks Approved By The Chinese Government

October 2018: The Chinese Government Approved Multiple “Trump” Name Trademarks In the Midst of Negotiations For A New Trade Deal. In fall 2018, Ivanka Trump won initial approval for 16 trademarks applied for two years prior in the midst of Trump’s trade war with China. The Chinese government also approved two “Trump” trademarks, registered at Trump Tower in Manhattan, as negotiation efforts progressed.

  • Months Earlier, China Gave Ivanka Trump Seven New Trademarks Across Multiple Businesses That She Applied For After President Trump Took Office—Approved Around The Time President Trump Committed To Keeping A Chinese Telecommunications Company Afloat. “China this month awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks across a broad collection of businesses, including books, housewares and cushions. […] Ms. Trump applied for six of the trademarks in March 2017. She applied for the seventh even earlier, in May 2016. […] At around the same time, President Trump vowed to find a way to prevent a major Chinese telecommunications company from going bust, even though the company has a history of violating American limits on doing business with countries like Iran and North Korea.” [New York Times, 5/28/18]
  • Over A Year Earlier, Ivanka Trump Received Three Trademark Approvals In China The Same Day She And Her Father Dined With Chinese President Xi Jinping. In April 2017, Ivanka Trump’s company had 37 pending trademark applications in ten counties, including China, Indonesia, and the Philippines, covering “the sale of leather goods in China, jewelry in the Philippines and beauty products in Indonesia.” According to the LA Times, “on the same day Trump and his daughter dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida in April 2017, China awarded her three preliminary trademark approvals for jewelry, handbags and spa services.” [New York Times, 4/11/17; LA Times, 10/10/19]

Trump Operated a Web of Over 500 LLCs While In Office

During His Presidency, Trump Operated A Web Of Over 500LLCs Not Subject To External Audits Or Rigorous Disclosure Requirements. For decades, Donald Trump operated a web of shadowy LLCs used to evade taxes and conceal loans and business interests. Even during his presidency, Trump’s use of LLCs allowed him to keep much of his financial portfolio outside the public eye. As NBC News reported, ““[W]e don’t know which foreign assets or bank accounts he owns or where they’re located. We don’t know how much foreign tax he has paid and to which countries. We can’t verify which charities he’s funding.”