Corruption: How Trump pockets public funds
President Trump’s corruption has reached “absurd and Veep-esque” proportions, said Tim Miller in TheBulwark.com. The latest example of his brazen grifting was his “suggestion” that Vice President Mike Pence and his retinue rent rooms at Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, while attending official meetings in Dublin—more than three hours away. Recently, the president proposed his resort in Doral, Fla., as the site of next year’s G-7 summit, and he’s spent upwards of $100 million in taxpayer money on 200-plus golf outings to his properties. That’s all on top of the “tens if not hundreds of millions” corporate executives, evangelical organizations, and at least 22 foreign governments have spent at his Washington, D.C., and other hotels “to curry favor.” Do Americans understand what their president is doing? “Trump is taking your money and giving it to himself.”
Among Trump’s allies, in fact, “it has become almost mandatory to hold events at Trump properties so the boss can dip his beak,” said Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. Since Trump’s inauguration, Republican campaigns and organizations have spent nearly $5 million at his properties. Attorney General William Barr just booked the Trump International Hotel in Washington for a $30,000 holiday party he’s paying for himself. If you want to work for this president, or enjoy his favor, you better “open your wallet. Trump demands tribute.” So far, Trump’s “use of higher office for personal enrichment” has been obscured by his “flashier scandals,” said Matt Stieb in NYMag.com. But Pence’s Ireland trip, as well as allegations that Trump ordered the Air Force Guard “to throw money toward” his Turnberry golf course and hotel in Scotland, could bring matters to the forefront. Congress is now investigating why the military spent $11 million for fuel at a debt-ridden airstrip 30 minutes from the resort when it could’ve been bought “substantially cheaper” at an allied base. The suspicion is that Trump is keeping “a key travel hub” for his Turnberry property afloat with Air Force money.
Republicans are hardly alone in enabling Trump’s “theft of public funds,” said Matthew Yglesias in Vox.com. “Any other official at any other level of government” who engaged in this level of corrupt self-enrichment would have been fired or prosecuted by now. Yet Democrats have displayed “a total sense of apathy.” Why aren’t public officials “stepping up”? ■