One of the regulars on this site once posted "every thing that Trump touches dies", and there is no better example of that than his 757 airplane.
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.
But, like many Trump accoutrements crafted for the purpose of marketing, the reality of the giant jet was different behind the scenes. It was a money suck, a plane past its prime with decaying mechanics and exorbitant storage fees.
"Flying that thing was so expensive," says the former senior official. "I don't think people realized that just to get it up in the air and make one stop was literally tens of thousands of dollars."
The cost to fly a Boeing 757 is about $15,000 to $18,000 per hour, according to CNN aviation analyst David Soucie. But that's when the plane can actually fly. Trump's 757 is nowhere near flight ready, according to an experienced pilot who saw it this week. The source declined to be identified.
Before Trump purchased it from Paul Allen, the plane served as a commercial airliner in Mexico in the 1990s, according to a 2016 Times story on the plane.
"If the wear is serious, that could lead to replacing the engine and that could cost up to a million dollars".
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.
The 2013 Trump-sanctioned documentary about the plane says Trump paid $100 million for it. Even if he paid far less than that, similar 757's are currently up for sale at a market price of about $7 million - $10 million.