MSNBC claimed that President Donald “Trump says the ‘phony’ Constitution ‘doesn’t matter’ because he’s ‘rich,’” misrepresenting the president’s position and failing to report that the president offered to donate all profits from hosting the G-7 summit to the U.S. Treasury.
“Alright, you heard it there it. A direct violation of the Constitution,” said MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin, who bills himself as an objective anchor. “Republican lawmakers huddled at Camp David were clear. He should reverse himself. And Trump backed down.
“Is his power and leverage now fading as a result of this? Is this a turning point? Joining me now is Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration. Richard, great to have you with us. I want you to watch Trump speaking about this today.”
Mohyeldin played tape from Trump in the Oval Office.
“I don’t think you people with this phony emoluments clause, and by the way, I would say that it’s cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president,” Trump said. “And that’s OK. Between what I lose and what I could have made. I would have made a fortune if I just ran my business. I was doing it really well. I have a great business. I have the best properties.”
“‘Phony emoluments clause.’” Mohyeldin said. “Richard, what is your reaction to that?”
“What other parts of the Constitution are phony?” Painter said, going on a rant without any interruption by Mohyeldin. “The First Amendment? Freedom of the press? The impeachment clause of the Constitution? He’s going to find out about than one soon. The 25th amendment, is that phony? The 25 amendment that empowers the cabinet and Congress to remove a president who is psychologically unstable, unfit for office? He wants to say the Constitution is phony. He has no business being president of the United States. He needs to be impeached and removed from office now. The emoluments clause is a critically important part of the Constitution that was inserted in there by the founders because they did not want foreign governments being able to influence United States government officials.
“This is the reason why, I on behalf of CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit under the emoluments clause asking that he be enjoined from violating it. The Second Court of Appeals has just upheld that lawsuit brought by our co-plaintiffs, who are restaurant owners and hoteliers who compete with Donald Trump. There are two other lawsuits pending. Two federal courts have made it very clear that Donald Trump’s understanding of the emoluments clause is wrong, and this type of payment is unconstitutional. It is not a phony constitution. We are not a phony country. We have a Constitution, and we don’t want a phony president. He needs to get out of there if he can’t play by the rules.”
By the end of his interview with Painter, Mohyeldin was chuckling approvingly.