A Friday report from Politico claims that President Donald Trump owes the state-owned Bank of China tens of millions of dollars. The debt reportedly stems from 2012, when his real estate partner refinanced the Manhattan Trump Tower in New York City.
Financial disclosures reportedly reveal that Trump has a 30 percent stake in the property, which is valued at over $1 billion and was financed by a $211 million loan from the Bank of China.
“Trump’s ownership of the building received a smattering of attention before and after his 2016 campaign,” the report reads. “But the arrangement with the Bank of China — and its impending due date in 2022 — has gone largely unnoticed.”
According to Politico, Trump is considered a “passive investor” in the building and doesn’t have authority over the management of financing. The publication claims that the principal investor is Vornado Realty Trust, which owns 70 percent of the property.
Politico also reports that Chinese state-owned companies are developing two luxury Trump properties in Indonesia and in the United Arab Emirates.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, claims that Trump is “highly conflicted” when it comes to his China dealings.
“We actually explored all these foreign enterprises and how once he became president he’d be seen differently by foreign leaders who would have leverage over this president because he had investments in their countries and/or financial dealings with business enterprises and financial institutions and investors in their countries.”
The piece comes as Trump has settled into an angle of attack against his Democratic rival Joe Biden that focuses on the former vice president’s purported friendliness with China.
TRUMP: “If Sleepy Joe Biden wins... China will own the United States.” pic.twitter.com/LfkBD5Hl74— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2020
In a CNN analysis, Stephen Collinson claims that Trump has “turned on China” to shift focus from his failure to get an early grip on the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 50,000 Americans as of Friday.
As reported by CNN, China is becoming the focus of the clash between Biden and Trump amid the COVID-19 crisis, which originated in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province. In response to Trump’s recent attacks, Biden has attempted to paint Trump as weak on China. Notably, the former vice president released a campaign ad that received criticism for playing into the same xenophobia that the president is accused of advocating.
According to experts, whether Biden or Trump wins that battle over China, the end result won’t bode well for U.S.-China diplomatic relations, which Collinson called the “most important economic, diplomatic and security relationship” in the world.