This is overt self-dealing by President Drain The Swamp, announced by his own chief of staff, in full view of the world. What else is there to say?
It’s so glaringly corrupt that Mulvaney felt obliged to acknowledge at one point today that even he was skeptical at first about hosting a diplomatic event at a business owned by Trump. But — wouldn’t you know it — he’s reliably informed that the Trump National Doral resort is in fact the perfect physical location to host such an event.
Fifty states, 300 million people, untold millions of properties, and Trump’s own business turned out to be ideal. For an event to be held in June of next year, when temperatures in Miami will be pushing 90 degrees.
The saving grace here is supposed to be the fact that the event will be produced at cost, with no profit to Trump. I’m guessing that outside auditors won’t be allowed to verify that. But even if it’s true, it’s obvious how the Trump brand benefits. Retailers are forever lavishing freebies on A-list celebrities because they understand that the publicity derived from doing so will help them move merchandise. Same with Doral and the G7. Philip Klein:
Mulvaney also claimed that the Doral has agreed to do the event at cost, and so Trump won’t profit. But there’s no way of ensuring that is the case, and there’s certainly no reason to take the word of this White House on it. Regardless, however, even if the resort somehow doesn’t profit directly from the conference, it will no doubt benefit from the prestige associated with hosting such an event, and be free publicity for the resort on the world stage…
But Trump is simply shameless. He is consistently brazenly dishonest and proudly unapologetic about his statements and actions, because he is incapable of feeling personal shame. In this case, in the midst of an impeachment inquiry stemming from his abuse of power, he’s just going to lean in. What’s especially shameless is that the White House is announcing this in the midst of a daily campaign to attack Hunter Biden for profiting from his dad’s public office.
Virtually every strand of corruption that Trump has been accused of since taking office is present here. Even before he was sworn in he refused to properly divest himself of his business holdings, setting himself up for charges later that he was using his office to profit personally. The question of emoluments, i.e. personal payments from foreign governments, has also dogged him. That’s potentially involved here too. Meanwhile, as Klein says, he’s busy screaming every day about Hunter Biden making money off of his father’s connections. In this case it’s the president himself who’s making money, which makes it appear even more doubtful that he was genuinely concerned about Joe Biden corruptly abusing his office as VP when he leaned on Ukraine to fire its lead prosecutor. He was looking for a dirt on an election opponent, not “fighting corruption.”
But the most amazing thing is how gratuitous it is. He’s about to be impeached; aides like Gordon Sondland keep coming forward and giving damaging testimony to Democrats; Republicans in the House and Senate are worried about what else might come out and how impeachment might play next fall. On top of all that, they’re furious at his heel turn against the Kurds in Syria. You would think he’d go out of his way not to put them in any new and avoidable cringeworthy political jams. Instead he turns around and awards the G7 to his own business. Even his usual allies can’t explain away this one:
Holding the G-7 at a Trump property is one of the most foolish, unseemly things the WH could do. The President enjoys waiving red flags in front of bulls, but this fight isn’t worth it.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) October 17, 2019
Is he trying to get the Senate to remove him? At this point, every Republican who votes on impeachment and removal will be thinking, “If we don’t get rid of him and he ends up reelected, what insanity will we have to defend two years from now, when he’s no longer accountable to voters?
I’m glad at least that Trump deputized Mulvaney to make this announcement. No one better embodies the essential fraudulence of the tea-party era than this guy, who made a name for himself in Congress preaching small government and greater accountability and now spends his days as a pitiful toady to a strongman, arguing with a straight face that naked conflicts of interest are Actually Good. If he had a shred of dignity, he’d resign.