Getting away with blatant self-enrichment
Donald Trump has pulled off what no president in history has done, said Anita Kumar: “fusing his private business interests with America’s highest public office.” Trump has made a mockery of his 2016 pledge to abstain from doing business while in the White House, leveraging his office to funnel millions of public dollars to his properties and creating a vast web of potential conflicts of interest. “The intersections between Trump Inc. and President Trump are everywhere.” To curry favor, conservative groups have spent more than $8 million at Trump properties since 2016, and T-Mobile executives stayed at Trump’s D.C. hotel while seeking approval for a merger. Foreign governments rent condos in his buildings, and state-owned companies in China, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea have built Trump-branded golf courses and condos. Trump himself has spent one out of three days as president at one of his own properties, charging taxpayers millions for not only the frequent flights but also the rooms used by aides and the Secret Service. In response to congressional investigations and lawsuits, Trump has dismissed the Constitution’s emoluments clause as “phony,” and insists the public doesn’t care. If he continues to get away with milking the presidency, he will be proved right.