Trump Has Nowhere to Go. Literally.
As Trump’s departure date approaches, he will clearly be fuming and fretting. Maybe a temper tantrum or two. But his family and friends will remind him that he can now return to his lavish lifestyle, and they will try to focus his energy on all the new, powerful friends he has made around the globe.
Unfortunately, he’s also a suspected flight risk, due to his mounting debts, hundreds of civil and criminal lawsuits, and ongoing DOJ and FBI investigations into a range of crimes that include campaign fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion, accounting misbehavior, rape, and obstruction of justice.
After his coming disenfranchisement, he’ll settle down soon enough, emotionally. But where will he settle physically? His usual haunts have gone from comfortable, ritzy enclaves to hotbeds of ire, protestors and tax problems.
Let’s rate his possible destinations into three categories: Least Likely, Possible But Uncomfortable, and Open Arms. If worse comes to worst, he did say at one point that he would put the First Lady “in a trailer” and tour the US.
Washington D.C. — Melania hates it there, so she won’t be staying, nor is it likely that Javanka will stay. Plus, Trump has repeatedly attacked the District of Columbia, apparently obtuse to the fact that ordinary Columbia citizens are not Republicans in his pocket. He has been openly and publicly trolled by the mayor and even the DC transport system.
Scotland — Even though Donald owns two golf resorts there, Scotland reviles Donald Trump with a passion.
Chicago — Trump is deeply unpopular there. Not only is it in a blue state, residents of Chicago are pissed that Trump Tower Chicago has been purposely polluting the Chicago River. The Tower has been sneaking millions of gallons out of the river, without a permit, runs it through its heating and cooling systems, and then pumps it back in. The State of Illinois is suing him.
Any blue US state — As vile as he’s been to every blue governor and citizen, I can’t think of any destination that would welcome him.
Any red US state — Although he would indeed be welcome with open arms in any red state, he and Melania would never deign to live in the Midwest, South, or Southwest. Consider his comments to his own rally attendees in Iowa: “I may never have to come back here again if I don’t get Iowa,” he said. “I’ll never be back.”
Any state on the US-Mexico border — see above.
Puerto Rico — Not bloody likely.
Panama — Until recently, the Trump Organization had a hotel there. Not only did they get the boot, they were forcibly evicted from the building by police. Then they thought it would be a great idea to threaten the president of Panama with U.S. sanctions if he refused to help them with their private, and very failing, business. Panama was not impressed, and is now investigating the Trumps for tax evasion.
Canada — Trump is deeply unpopular in Canada, and not just for his ridiculous tariffs. The country that apologizes to everyone for everything is drawing the line.
Ukraine — Trump’s presidential campaigns regularly used Ukrainian models in his campaign ads, so maybe he’s got a thing for the women there? But after his botched attempts at pay-to-play and withholding military aid, he’s not likely to get permission to even visit. Plus, no oligarchy friends there anymore.
Syria — Not after he turned a blind eye to massive Turkish violence, destruction and theft in Syria, and then removed US peace-keeping troops, callously putting hundreds of thousands of people in harm’s way.
Possible But Uncomfortable
New York — Melania Trump and the rest of the family will want to return to their glitzy apartments in Manhattan. Unfortunately, while New York denizens once tolerated a man they knew as a charming, if incompetent, mafia grifter and a regular Howard Stern joke guest, they now pretty much despise him. This is the same guy who bragged his buildings were now the tallest in New York, just hours after the World Trade Center fell on 9/11. He is also under investigation for both tax fraud and campaign fraud in New York, and will face the same charges that landed his former associates in jail as convicted felons.
India — India loves Trump. To them, he is a symbol of proud American success. Donald Jr. has taken private meetings with India’s prime minister Modi — during Trump’s tenure as president — and come home with millions in condo sales. (This is the same kind of graft that Don Jr. has unsuccessfully accused Hunter Biden of committing.) Unfortunately, both Donald and Melania hate the food.
Azerbaijan — The Trump Tower there was never finished and is in kind of a dicey neighborhood, to put it kindly. Trump’s unsavory partners were directly involved with the Iran Revolutionary Guard, a terrorist organization sanctioned by the US. The IRG and its business associates regularly funnel cash out of Iran through “legitimate” businesses in order to fuel terrorist activities elsewhere. Contractors who worked on Trump Tower Baku report being paid with satchels of cash totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Also, the Baku Tower mysteriously caught fire in 2018; the fire burned through 20 of the tower’s 33 floors. Damage estimates and the cause of the fire are still unrevealed. Trump is well known for protesting that he “can’t afford” to install sprinklers in his high-rise buildings. In 1999, Rudy Giuliani revised a bill, in order to give Trump’s New York buildings exemptions from the fire codes.
Turkey — Trump Organization manages a twin-towers complex in Istanbul, where Trump‘s partner is a wealthy ally and donor of Turkish President Reycep Erdogan. The Trump family claims to own the complex on their website, but in fact, Trump does not own the towers there; the continuity of his contract and his brand in Istanbul depends entirely on Erdogan’s influence and permission.
Shortly after Trump became president and imposed his “Muslim ban” Erdogan angrily called for Trump to be ousted and his name removed from the building. Suddenly Trump was bending over backwards for the militant leader. Since becoming US president, Trump has done the mass-murdering Turkish leader several favors. He shocked the Pentagon when he peremptorily withdrew American troops and allowed Erdogan’s brutal invasion and slaughter of northern Syria. The Kurds — Erdogan’s real target — were U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. Thanks to Trump, their farms have been confiscated, wells poisoned, and hospitals bombed. Trump also, at Erdogan’s request, pressured the DOJ not to prosecute a Turkish bank for helping Iran. Since Trump’s election in 2016, Turkish officials made 14 visits to Trump properties, more than any other country. Now, the country is pressuring Trump to do more trade with Turkey to offset the effects of the pandemic, which Erdogan allowed to take a backseat to his military offensives. So, undoubtedly the Trumps would be welcome in Istanbul, but again, I don’t think they’d like the food.
Brazil — A former military dictator’s grandson proposed a Trump Towers project, which Trump won and pursued during his 2016 campaign. Grandson and his two partners were already under investigation, and charges had already been brought against them for past shady shenanigans. Trump Organization clearly did no vetting of their new “partners” and proceeded with the usual condo scams, universally known as Pump-and-Trump after investigations were opened into Trump’s schemes in Tampa and Panama, even before 2016.
Meanwhile, the partners — including Trump Organization — were accused of accepting funds illegally from a national bank. Public prosecutor Alselmo Lopes alleges that state agencies “favored, in a suspicious manner, the economic group The Trump Organization”. Apparently $11 million in bribes also passed hands.
It was only after multiple investigations were opened into corruption, collusion and money-laundering that the Trumps pulled out, citing “delays in construction”. (The same excuse they’ve used in every country, every time they were caught with their hands in government pockets.)
However, yanking back their sticky fingers has not stopped the investigations. The original developers are now being charged with corruption, money laundering and crimes against the financial system. Current and former directors of the state-owned Banco de Brasília and intermediaries who facilitated fake receipts are also facing charges. In October 2016, Brazilian officials announced that they were investigating Trump Towers Rio, and whether the Trump Organization benefited illegally by receiving support from public bank Caixa Econômica Federal.
Meanwhile, Trump lavishes praise on Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro … and recently overrode his own FDA to send Bolsonaro (a fellow hydroxychloroquine fan) two million doses of hydroxychloroquine, apparently as a gift from US taxpayers. The drug was determined to be too toxic to patients at the levels required to affect viruses, and all 2 million doses are still sitting in a warehouse in Rio de Janeiro, scheduled to be destroyed by the Brazilian government. Meanwhile, people who depend on the drug to treat lupus and malaria are facing global shortages and price hikes.
The Bolsonaro family would probably welcome Trump. To be sure, there is a lot of good beef in Brazil, but … they speak Spanish, there are brown people, and he’s under investigation for illegal financial activities. So, probably a no-go.
Greenland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Britain, Germany or France — It’s not likely that officials would object to a Trump residency, but it’s also doubtful, given Trump’s deep unpopularity in these countries, that he would settle somewhere where he’ll be constantly snubbed, ridiculed, and followed by a giant Baby Trump balloon.
Australia — Public opinion of Trump in Australia is very low , with “three in four Australians saying they have no confidence President Donald Trump will do the right thing for the world.” (In Barack Obama’s final year in office 84 per cent of Australians said they had confidence in him to do the right thing for the world.) The only world leaders Australians rank below Trump are China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Still, Australians are a mellow breed and Trump could probably chill there quite comfortably.
China —China adores Trump — common people believe he has an “unyielding spirit”. But the culture there will be too foreign for him, and the food is heavy on garlic and vegetables.
Middle East — Yikes. Jared Kushner purchased a worthless skyscraper years ago (666 Fifth Avenue) and was never able to find new investors or funding. He had only six months to raise $1.4 billion. Meanwhile Qatar was being blockaded by its neighboring countries. Lo and behold, a Canadian company (in which Qatar has a major investment stake) swoops in and purchases a 99-year lease on 666, covering Jared’s ear-popping debt. Of course the Qataris denied knowing anything about the debt, which is bullshit because they get the New York Times in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the Qataris are also paying $450,000 a year to lease office space in a Trump building in San Francisco, paying through a dummy corporation. The space is furnished, but no one is there, and the plant on the front desk is dead.
- April 2017: Jared directly asked Qatar for a loan. He was refused.
- May 2017: Jared and Trump publicly back the Saudi/UAE blockade of Qatar, in spite of Rex Tillerson’s pleas for a “calm and thoughtful dialogue”
- Feb 2018: Qatar rents a fake office in Trump’s San Fran building for $500,000-ish, 30% of which goes directly into Trump’s pockets
- April 2018: Trump changes his mind, and arranges a lavish dinner in the US Treasury for the Emir of Qatar
- Aug 2018: Qataris rescue Jared, arranging for a $1.4 billion “buyout” of a worthless skyscraper
However, after three years, the combined efforts of Daddy Trump and Javanka have not lifted the blockade. So at this point, the Qataris are probably re-thinking their investment. Across the border, meanwhile, Saudi Arabians are pretty cavalier with their bone saws. Not a comfortable situation for the Trumps.
Israel — Israel loves the Trump family for their unwavering support of Israel’s strong-arm tactics, and its unrelenting expansion into and occupation of Palestinian lands. Unfortunately, their buddy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Meanwhile, Netanyahu is calling for a probe into the investigators, and is generally thought to be trying to deflect from his poor handling of Covid-19. Also, Israel is installing hundreds of wind turbines in 2020, and we all know how The Donald feels about windmills.
Africa — “shithole countries”.
Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida — One of the more likely destinations, as Donald can hunker in a bunker of his own lavish design and entertain despots from all over the world. Even so, Donald is now under investigation in Florida for voter fraud.
Another problem is that under Palm Beach, Florida law, Mar-a-Lago can be either a club or a residence. Not both. So if he wants to keep all those cushy membership fees, he can only stay there for one week at a time, and for only three weeks out of the year. And he may have to sell Mar-a-Lago in order to meet his impending debts.
Russia — Trump would feel right at home surrounded by oligarchs who seized control of their nation’s utilities, mines, and resources. Putin would love to have a former American president as a pet. If Trump were allowed to build a tower, his Goldfinger decor would fit right in, he could call his new digs the Winter White House and he could outfit a grandiose suite for the eventuality that he would have to flee the U.S.