President Donald Trump was elected despite voters knowing he controlled a vast empire of hotels and other businesses and that he planned to relinquish control but not sell them during his time in office.
But the mainstream media continues to try to create a scandal over it.
The latest attempt came Wednesday when NBC News ran a story on its website by Shelby Hanssen and Ken Dilanian entitled, “Reps of 22 foreign governments have spent money at Trump properties.”
The representatives’ spending in Trump properties was said to be “hinting at a significant foreign cash flow to the American president that critics say violates the U.S. Constitution.”
No one knows for sure how much the representatives of the 22 governments have spent, but Trump promised to donate any profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury and has sent $343,000 to the government as a result, the NBC News story said.
The story says Trump is the first president in modern history to retain ownership of his business empire while in office. No other modern president had a business empire to speak of while in office.
“He says the company is being run by his sons, but he continues to derive income from the various businesses, including his hotel in Washington, his federal financial disclosure forms show,” wrote Hanssen and Dilanian. “But Trump has refused to release his tax returns, which would present a fuller picture of his business dealings.”
It then walks readers through the Emoluments Clause to the U.S. Constitution, which prevents presidents from accepting gifts from foreign states “lest they influence policy.” But, as the story acknowledges that Trump argues, regular business payments do not fall under the Emoluments Clause.
NBC News reported that at least nine foreign governments held events at a Trump property – Afghanistan, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Philippines, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. At least nine purchased or rented property in buildings or communities owned by Trump businesses – Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China, Malaysia, Slovakia, Thailand, India and the European Union.
Representatives of five other governments – Georgia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Romania and Saudi Arabia – have stayed at a Trump property, and Indonesia and Panama made infrastructure improvements that benefited Trump properties.
Representatives of Brazil, Dominica, Georgia, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia and Qatar have attended parties at Trump properties.
NBC wrote that Cyprus held a function at a Trump hotel entitled “Justice for Cyprus,” which “opposed Turkish influence in a breakaway region of Cyprus once occupied by the Turkish military.” Organizers held the conference to examine “ways of exerting influence on US President Donald Trump with a view to avert the Islamization of the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus,” Cyprus news agency told NBC.
Furthermore, a candidate for president in Nigeria stayed at the Trump Hotel in Washington despite having been “barred from the U.S. for his alleged involvement in corruption while he was Nigeria’s vice president,” and an Iraqi sheik stayed at the Trump hotel for 26 nights at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.
None of these stays were reported to have influenced the Trump administration in any way.
But NBC quoted a judge of warning of the danger of Trump operating a hotel in Washington.
“In a court ruling denying Trump’s motion to dismiss an emoluments lawsuit, a federal judge in Washington, Peter Messitte, raised the seminal question: When ‘a president maintains a premier hotel property that generates millions of dollars a year in profits, how likely is it that he will not be swayed, whether consciously or subconsciously, in any and all of his dealings with foreign or domestic governments that might choose to spend large sums of money at that hotel property?”
Photo by Thomas Hawk