August 30, 2019
After the first Federal Reserve interest rate cut in a decade, CREW reported that President Trump would likely save millions on his loan and mortgage payments as a result of the cut that he demanded. But he’s not the only one in the West Wing with a financial interest in lower Fed rates: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump stand to save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars from cuts to the Fed rate as well.
In 2019, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reported five outstanding variable rate liabilities worth at least $17 million. These liabilities are tied to the Prime rate and LIBOR, which tend to track the rates set by the Fed. Since the liabilities are reported in broad categories, it is impossible to know the exact dollar figure, but they could total as much as $85 million.
President Trump’s personal variable rate loans are worth much more, at least $180 million. The exact amount he stands to save from rate cuts is hard to ascertain, but estimates have put it in the millions, especially if the Fed lowers interest rates further. When the Fed lowered rates by 0.25% at the end of July, Trump tweeted that Fed Chair Powell “let us down” and that the market wanted a “lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle”– appearing to push for much deeper cuts. Since then, Trump’s public demands for more cuts have only intensified.
As hard as it is to estimate the magnitude of Trump’s potential profits from a rate cut, the effect on Jared and Ivanka’s net worth is even more difficult to pinpoint. The reported liabilities on personal financial disclosures only include liabilities in the name of the filer or their spouse’s name or that they personally guarantee. This limits the public’s ability to understand the effect of a rate cut on Jared and Ivanka’s finances because their filings do not necessarily include loans taken out by Jared’s family business, Kushner Companies. Because Jared is still a major stakeholder in the company, lower interest rates on its loans also could increase his personal profits.
Kushner Companies has taken out several massive loans during the time Jared and Ivanka have worked in the White House. An incomplete list includes a $325 million loan from Citigroup to the Kushner Companies and a partner, a $800 million loan from Berkadia, a $184 million loan from Apollo, and a $57 million loan from Fortress. We can’t know whether the rates on these loans are variable or set by the Fed because they do not need to be disclosed. Given the staggering amount of debt that the company has, however, changes to the Fed rates certainly have the potential to change its fortunes drastically.
Though Trump reported significantly more variable-rate loan debt than Jared and Ivanka, their potential savings as a result of rate cuts are also massive. In a family doing a horrible job of maintaining a firewall between their government positions and business interests, it is natural to wonder whether Trump’s hounding the Fed to lower rates is motivated in part by his and his family’s profits. In this case, millions are at stake for Trump and his daughter and son-in-law.