While roughly 100,000 small businesses across the country went out of business due to COVID-19 and a lack of Paycheck Protection Program funds, the Small Business Administration is reporting that companies owned by President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner received $3.65 million.
This information came to light only because 11 news outlets sued for the data to be released. Shortly thereafter, those outlets discovered that over 25 PPP loans were granted to businesses associated with Trump or Kushner, who is also his father-in-law’s senior advisor.
Stipulation for receiving PPP loans were clear; companies receiving the loans were not to eliminate any jobs or the PPP loans would not be forgiven. However, the Triomphe Restaurant Corp., part of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City, eliminated all its jobs and the company ultimately closed, even after receiving nearly $2.2 million in PPP money. Kushner-owned properties received roughly $700K, yet many employees lost their jobs.
According to the Small Business Administration data, the Trump and Kushner-owned businesses that received PPP funds were guilty of gross mismanagement of the funds, a claim that was common throughout the program, including individuals collecting millions by making false claims about their small businesses.
Still, the SBA insisted the PPP program has been a success.
“SBA’s historically successful COVID relief loan programs have helped millions of small businesses and tens of millions of American workers when they needed it most,” an SBA spokesman said in a statement released along with the data about Trump and Kushner-owned businesses that received PPP funds.
National response to this news has been a mixture of shock and disgust from some, and shoulder shrugs by those not surprised by reports that suggest Trump and Kushner bilked a system designed to help hard-working Americans.