CNN: Glory days of Trump’s gold-plated 757 seem far away as plane sits idle at a sleepy airport
03.19.2021 / By Kate Bennett and Pete Muntean
CNN: Glory days of Trump's gold-plated 757 seem far away as plane sits idle at a sleepy airport
Washington (CNN)Trump’s personal Boeing 757 was always the crown jewel of his wealth — the ultimate sign that he had made it. He’s used it as a backdrop for sleek photo shoots, campaign rallies, VIP tours, for shots of him eating his Big Macs and KFC, plated, with a knife and fork. Trump loved to show it off — the customized cream-colored leather seats, gilded bathrooms, the seat buckles layered in 24-karat gold.
But today it sits idle on an airport ramp in Orange County, New York, about 60 miles north of Manhattan.
One engine is missing parts. The other is shrink-wrapped in plastic. The cost to fix and get it flyable could reach well into the high six-figures, a price-tag Trump doesn’t appear to be dealing with right now. Though the current state of his finances aren’t public, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the hospitality industry home to so many of his businesses. …
The pricey extravagance of the jet may now be too much for Trump’s finances to handle. His net worth has taken a tumble over the last few years. Trump is personally liable for debts and loans totaling $421 million, according to the New York Times reporting. Most of that debt comes due in the next four years. Some of his best-known business ventures report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year, according to the Times. That includes golf courses that have racked up at least $315 million in losses over the past two decades. The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.
A Bloomberg News report this week estimates that Trump’s net worth has fallen by $700 million since February 2016, from $3 billion to $2.3 billion.
Trump could use money in his political action committees to pay for the plane upgrades, or other expenses, experts say. “PACs are often used as slush funds,” said Paul S. Ryan, an expert on campaign finance and a top lawyer at Common Cause, a good governance non-profit.
“Campaign finance law doesn’t require PAC money to be used for political purposes, leaving open the possibility that Trump could use PAC funds to pay for private plane repairs.”