This post has been updated
President Trump’s hotels made $151,470 in profit from doing business with foreign governments in 2017, the Trump Organization announced Friday.
The company donated that amount to the U.S. Treasury in late February, in keeping with a promise that Trump made before he was inaugurated.
“Although we are not legally obligated to do this, we have pledged to account for all profits from foreign government business at our hotels and clubs and have donated that money back to the United States of America,” Eric Trump, the president’s son, wrote in an emailed statement. “We understand the bigger picture and believe it is simply the right thing to do.”
The Trump Organization announced several days ago that it had made the donation — but at first, declined to give the amount. That seemed to undercut the purpose of the donation, which was to reassure Americans that foreign governments are not using Trump’s businesses to buy the president’s favor.
This week, however, the company had come under increased scrutiny from Capitol Hill. Both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) — respectively, the top Democrats on the Finance and Foreign Relations committees — had sent letters asking for more information about the gift.
The amount of the donation was first reported Friday by the Daily Mail.
The Trump Organization did not release any details about how the donation was calculated, other than to say it was in accordance with “our policy” and common accounting standards.
Several foreign governments are known to have spent significant amounts at Trump’s D.C. hotel: The Saudi government spent more than $250,000 on hotel rooms, and the embassies of Kuwait, Bahrain and Azerbaijan held events in the ballrooms.
Trump says he has shifted day-to-day control of his business to his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. But the president still owns those businesses and can withdraw money from them at any time.
In his statement, Eric Trump said that the organization tries to avoid business from foreign governments. One reason, he said, is that he has pledged to donate the profits from those transactions. The other was that “we purposely want to avoid any and all instances where anyone could claim ‘impropriety,’ ” he added.
In recent days, before the amount of the donation was revealed, The Washington Post had asked readers to guess the amount. Readers submitted 367 responses. The Post’s readers largely guessed low: The average of their responses was about $26,000.