Trump reportedly nears DC hotel rights sale as ally says ‘I think he’s gonna run’

Donald Trump is reportedly close to selling rights to his hotel near the White House in Washington, a move the website Axios said “would carry a symbolism savoured by opponents”, given it would mean “the removal of Trump’s brash, golden branding from Pennsylvania Avenue”.

Reports from Iowa, however, indicated that the former president is close to announcing an attempt to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, often called the most powerful address in the world, with a run for the Republican nomination in 2024.

According to the Des Moines Register, at a dinner in Dallas County, Iowa on Thursday, the Ohio congressman Jim Jordan, a close Trump ally, told Republicans: “I think he’s gonna run. I want him to run. He’s proven he can take the heat.”

Jordan took heat himself after a liberal activist covertly recorded him being more definite about Trump’s plans, telling attendees: “President Trump, he’s gonna run again.” Jordan denied the remark, before the footage was released.

Axios reported the news about the Trump Hotel on Saturday, saying the Trump Organization was in “advanced talks” to sell rights to the business in the old Post Office building, which Trump leased from the US government in 2013, two years before he announced his first run for president.

The hotel opened in September 2016, two months before Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the White House. When Trump was in power, the hotel became a hub for government business and lobbying, and thus a magnet for controversy.

Trump businesses including the hotel and golf resorts have been hard hit by both the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s fall from power. On Friday, the Washington Post reported “imploding tenants, political backlash and a broader, pandemic-related slump in Manhattan office leasing” at Trump Tower, in New York City.

The hotel in Washington “used to be the hub of Trump World but I can’t imagine who goes there now,” Sally Quinn, an influential Washington author and journalist, told the Guardian in March. “ … I can’t imagine most people staying there when they come. I don’t know anybody who goes there or has gone there.”

Attempts to sell the hotel have been reported since 2019.

Quinn said: “I suspect that whoever does buy it will take down all the gilt and all of the trimmings and turn it into something very un-Trump-like.”

Trump survived two impeachments and maintains a firm grip on Republican politics and polling. He has continued to fundraise, raising huge sums. Many believe he is eyeing a second White House run as a way to fend off financial problems and an array of criminal and civil investigations.

Jettisoning any notion of post-presidential propriety, he has vociferously criticised his successor, Joe Biden, who soundly beat him in an election Trump continues to claim without evidence was rigged.

In the video secretly recorded in Iowa, Jordan was asked if he really thought Trump was ready to declare another run.

“I know so,” he said. “Yeah, I talked to him yesterday. He’s about ready to announce after all of this craziness in Afghanistan.”

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