Eric Trump claims family 'lost a fortune' in pushback of pay-for-play report
In response to a report that found that hundreds of businesses, interest groups, and overseas governments seeking advantage patronized Trump Organization properties in recent years, the president's son argued on Sunday that the groups were a small one Part of their business and that his father did not benefit financially from his office.
"We lost a fortune. My father lost a fortune running for president. He doesn't care," said Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, in ABC's This Week. "He wanted to do what was right. The last thing I can tell you what Donald Trump needs in the world is this job."
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The comments come a day after a New York Times story stated that President Trump "in Washington transferred the search for favor to his family's hotels and resorts - and made millions as the doorman of his own administration." The article, which cites the president's tax filings, reports that of the hundreds of people and organizations seeking favor, "60 customers with interests were at stake before the Trump administration opened his family business in the first two years grossed nearly $ 12 million during his presidency ".
"Almost everyone saw that their interests were being driven in some way by Mr Trump or his administration," the message continued.
On "This Week", Eric Trump repeated his father's rhetoric calling the story "false news." He also implied, without evidence, that the report - one of several in the past two weeks on the president's finances - was timed to undermine his re-election campaign.
Under pressure from ABC White House news chief's correspondent Jonathan Karl about the president's debt, which the Times called more than $ 400 million, Eric Trump described it as commonplace for someone with his real estate fortune. He also misleadingly claimed that all of the President's lenders were publicly known.
"It's in his financial statements," said Eric Trump, referring to the annual reports the president is required to publish under federal ethics that do not list all of his creditors. President Trump did not voluntarily publish his tax returns, as other former executives have. "You know exactly who the money is owed to ... my father is worth billions of dollars, and my father has very, very little leverage on some of his net worth."
"When you own buildings, when you own real estate, you owe it. Developers do, entrepreneurs do, they owe," he continued. "We have a phenomenal company, but there is nothing new about it and, by the way, it is the same fault that he was chosen for."
In the interview, Eric Trump also responded to the president's refusal to participate in a virtual debate in the coming week, as planned by the Presidential Debate Commission following the president's COVID-19 diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization. The debate was then canceled and it is not immediately clear what format the final scheduled debate will take place in.
"My father wants to be on stage with his opponent. This is how debates have been going on in America for the past 200 years, you have stood there and you have discussed someone," said Eric Trump, although John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon were discussing opposite coasts on camera and appeared on split-screen television in 1960.
"My father doesn't want to do it through a glorified conference call," he continued.
Karl noted that several members of the Trump family, including Eric and his siblings, defied protocol by masklessly watching the initial debate. The second lady, Karen Pence, appeared in the vice-presidential debate last week without a mask.
"Given the concerns, will you now commit to the Trump team following the safeguards that the Commission put in place for the next debate?" Asked Karl.
"I like to wear a mask," said Eric Trump, accusing Democratic candidate Joe Biden of stepping down the debate - another misrepresentation. It was the commission that announced the plan to hold the second event virtually and the president who chose not to attend.
On Saturday, the President's doctor, Dr. Sean Conley, a memo stating that the president "no longer poses any risk of transmission to others" and "the selection of advanced diagnostic tests received shows that there is no longer any evidence of active replication of the virus".
MORE: President Trump is no longer at risk of spreading viruses, the doctor says
The memo came hours after the President delivered what resembled a campaign speech from the South Lawn of the White House. The government called the event a "peaceful protest for law and order," which Eric Trump repeated in "This Week." The president travels to Florida Tuesday to resume official face-to-face campaigning with a rally in Sanford.
Eric Trump also noted Sunday morning attendees at the White House event on Saturday were temperature controlled and wearing masks - the latter measure, Karl said, was less common at Trump rallies ahead of the president's diagnosis.
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Eric Trump claims the family lost a fortune when they pushed back the pay-for-play report originally posted on abcnews.go.com
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