There’s a reason President Donald Trump seems to have stepped up efforts to promote his various properties around the world by encouraging U.S. military and others traveling on official business to patronize them, according to Heather Digby-Parton of Salon.
“On some level he must know that he’s vulnerable,” Digby-Parton wrote, under “We’re starting to see the scale of Trump’s personal corruption – and it’s massive” – subhead: “Mandatory stops at Trump resorts are the tip of the iceberg. This president has been ‘wetting his beak’ all along.”
Perhaps, suggested Digby-Parton, who founded the left-wing blog Hullabaloo, Trump “sees that his window for using his power to benefit himself may be closing.”
That’s because “in the last week we’ve received even more evidence that he’s been quite successful at dipping his beak ever since he became president.”
This began with a story Friday that said an Air Force plane made a refueling stop at a government-owned airport in Scotland “that just happened to be next to Trump’s failing golf course in Turnberry. The crew was befuddled at the order and even more so when they ended up at Trump’s pricey club, feeling out of place and without enough per-diem money to buy food and drink.”
She admits it is “highly unlikely Trump would have directly given an order to do this” and it “may be that this is not technically illegal.” It’s “more likely” she said, that “people just know that pleasing Trump by putting money in his pocket is smart politics.
“He does love money,” she wrote, ignoring that Trump has donated every penny he has earned as president to various charitable causes.
“If anyone still cared about the Constitution, that emoluments clause would clearly be in play here,” Digby-Parton wrote. “From the looks of it, that clause is only in effect for presidents who take bags of cash in a paper bag from a foreign potentate. Other than that, it is no longer operative, and presidents are now allowed to take as much money from foreign governments as can be channeled into the businesses they refused to divest from when they became president.
“If the next Republican president isn’t already a businessman, he’ll have to set up some pass-through corporations so that he too can legally receive bribes from foreign governments.”
She does not mention that two of the three emoluments clause lawsuits launched against Trump already have been dismissed, and legal experts say the remaining emoluments-clause cases against Trump is as spurious as the first two.
Digby-Parton wrote that State Department officials also have stayed at Trump properties on official business and that Secret Service details “routinely spend tens of thousands at Trump hotels, Turnberry included, when their charges travel.” She does not point out how many Secret Service members are required on such visits.
She then quoted the New York Times saying that more than 250 Trump administration officials and more than 110 foreign dignitaries have stayed at Trump hotels since 2017, but she considered these to be low estimates.
“And nobody knows how much money has really been spent,” she wrote. “Some are looking for favors, some probably just wat to be seen and some simply want to give the president money because they love him so much.”
She then quoted an evangelical minister from Dallas saying, “President Trump has really been on the side of the evangelicals and we want to do everything we can to make him successful. Nd if that means having dinner or staying in his hotel, we are going to do so.”
That’s not Americans expressing their freedom to stay in or have dinner in any hotel they want, according to Digby-Parton.
“This is corruption in plain sight by Republicans, lobbyists, foreign dignitaries and supporters,” she wrote. “Trump excuses it by saying that people just like his product and claiming that he’s actually lost $3 billion to $5 billion on this president deal. How could anyone object if he makes a few measly million from people who appreciate his greatness?”