Trump’s Recent Attack on French Wine Represents Yet Another Conflict of Interest

The President has skin in the game.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

On Friday, Donald Trump threatened to retaliate against a new French law that taxes American technology companies, and though he didn’t explicitly say how he’d strike back, a tweet suggests he might target the country’s wine industry.

Trump famously doesn’t drink alcohol, so his opinion might not carry that much weight, but he does have a reason to like American wine better—he produces it. In 2011, Trump purchased a Virginia vineyard out of foreclosure and reopened it as Trump Winery. Trump has made various claims about the business, including that it is the largest winery on the East Coast, which is not true. According to Politifact, it is the third-largest winery in Virginia, producing about 36,000 cases of wine a year.

The winery is overseen by his adult son, Eric, however, Trump continues to own the property outright himself. According to his most recent personal financial disclosure, which covers 2018, he made between $200,000 and $2 million renting the land back to Eric, and about $1.1 million in revenue related to the hotel and restaurant that operates at the vineyard. 

So, while wine is not a huge part of Trump’s business, it’s another example of how his own business interests are entwined with his presidency. In fact, in August of 2017, at the same press conference at which Trump notoriously declared there were “very fine people” on both sides of the neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville, he attempted to soothe the uproar by assuring the public he’s familiar with the area—and plugging the business.

“I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that’s been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. I own—I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States that’s in Charlottesville,” Trump told reporters. 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate