The Open Corruption of Donald J. Trump
One of the most underreported stories of the Trump era has to be Lord Donny’s complete abolition of any sort of decorum when it comes to the federal government. It’s not just the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution; there are violations of that, but there is a whole lot more. Since the day he was elected, Donny has been using the office of president as his own honey pot. And let’s be clear here; a significant portion of every dollar he costs taxpayers actually goes into the coffers of the Trump Organization.
There is more to this with Lord Donny than with any previous president or other federal employee or member of Congress; even Darth Cheney put his Halliburton stock into a blind trust. Granted, the Bush Administration seems to have had no problem enriching Cheney’s former company over eight years. What’s happening now, however, is absolutely different and far worse than even the cronyism rampant in the Bush era. You see, unlike every other president with personal business interests, Trump has refused to place any of his holdings in a blind trust. It is cleat that he neither knows what his corruption looks like nor cares one way or another.
Consider that several current Trump Organization officers — his kids, no less — are a a major part of the White House staff. Trump isn’t merely corrupt; he is actively pillaging the U.S. Treasury and pocketing a significant portion of the proceeds for his company and, by extension, himself and his family.
The press needs to put more of this stuff together and lay it on the line for you. Since they’re not doing that, I decided to look into it myself. What I found is frightening and proves that this is the most corrupt administration in history, by far and that “the media” is falling down on doing its job.
First, consider the amount of money he is costing taxpayers on a regular basis, including the amount of transition work that was done at Trump Tower in New York City, which means he was essentially paying himself to prepare for the presidency, at a cost of millions of dollars a day. Then, for the first five months of his presidency, taxpayers paid more than $500,000 per day so that Melania and Barron Trump could stay at the Trump Tower, while Donny moved into the White House. That’s about 150 days, which comes to $75 million. That’s just a drop in the bucket, too. We are also providing Secret Service protection to his kids, as they flit around the world cutting business deals and flouting the law regarding conflicts of interest.
Like I said, those are a veritable drop in the bucket, really. According to a report from CBS News (Source) just a month into his regime, he had already wasted $10 million in taxpayer money on trips to Mar-a-Lago, and there is no reason to believe the trips have become any cheaper. That means it is at least possible, if not likely, that Trump has cost us another $100 million to take weekly vacations. Another source estimates the cost of each Mar-a-Lago trip to be in the $3 million range, which also supports the estimate of upwards of $100 million so far. (Source)
That’s in addition to the shorter trips to play golf. Now I have no problem with his playing golf, but it’s important to remember that every golf trip so far has not only cost taxpayers a lot of money, but that they all involve going to Trump’s properties, where he collects money for everyone in his entourage, including foreign dignitaries, Secret Service agents and everyone else. That includes hotel rooms, meals and, of course, the expensive use of Air Force One, every single time. That money is not paid to some third-party small business who can use the money; it all goes to the Trump organization, and Donny and his kids all get a cut of all of that.
I hate arguments like this, but could you imagine if President Obama had made money on every trip to Hawaii to see his family?
Speaking of family, we are also paying tons of money for Trump’s kids, who are executives in the Trump Organization, to sell the Trump brand overseas. This is so incredibly unseemly, I can’t believe the press doesn’t commit itself to reporting on all of these trips in detail. This is a kind of corruption Richard Nixon couldn’t even dream of and he was run out of town on a rail. Every time Donny Junior, Eric or Ivanka goes overseas to tend to a business that should be in a blind trust by now, Secret Service tags along. An early trip to Uruguay by Eric Trump cost $100,000 just for the Secret Service protection alone, and who knows how many trips the kiddies have taken since then? And that’s kind of the point; we really don’t know how many such trips they have taken and no one is holding them accountable for keeping track of how much taxpayer money is being used to make money for the Trump family.
Then there are the rallies. Trump has been running for reelection since the day after the 2016 election, in part because it’s all he knows, really. He’s raising tons of money, which is a bit troublesome, but even more troublesome is the constant rallies, all of which add to the cost to taxpayers. Between travel on Air Force One, Secret Service protection and the cost of secure ground transportation, each one of those rallies could easily run into the millions in taxpayer money because the law requires that the president be protected, wherever he goes.
Getting back to the Trump Tower, consider that the Pentagon is renting space in the Trump Tower in Manhattan at an estimated cost of about $1.5 million per year, just to keep him safe for those times when he decides to sleep there. And once again, that money goes straight into the coffers of the Trump Organization. (Source)
And that brings us to the Trump DC Hotel, in the Old Post Office Building. Not only was Trump granted $40 million in tax credits to put a hotel in that location (source), but the hotel is being leased from the federal government, putting Donny in the rare and seemingly illegal position of being his very own landlord. It certainly puts taxpayers in the position of lining the Trump Organization’s coffers in order to provide a place for foreign dignitaries and other visitors to the White House to stay. Think about that; the President can provide foreign dignitaries and other officials with a nice place to stay other than the White House or Blair House and every time one stays there, he makes money. (Source) Talk about a conflict of interest and a violation of the Emoluments Clause all rolled into one, there you go.
We never would have allowed such conflicts of interest before now, so why is the GOP Congress looking the other way this time? If this isn’t an impeachable offense, what is impeachable these days?
That question is rhetorical; we all know the answer to that. Republicans only care about the “rule of law” when it applies to Democrats.
My question is the same as it’s been for several years now. Donald J Trump was a corrupt businessman with neither ethics nor morals. Why has such a man been allowed to become the nominee of a major party in the first place, and why has he, as president, not been challenged more by the press for his corruption as president? Journalists, it’s your turn. Dig into these and stop trying to normalize this “presidency.” There is nothing “normal” about it.
Now, I know he has foregone the usual salary for a president, which is about $400,000, but come on; why are we having to pay to secure Trump Tower and to keep his kids secure while they make money for themselves and Lord Donny himself?
Originally published at PCTC Blog.