Speed Reads


The story of the Florida spa owner selling Chinese citizens access to Trump is only getting weirder

Li (Cindy) Yang, a Florida Chinese-American entrepreneur who founded (then sold) the massage parlor where Patriots owner Robert Kraft was allegedly caught paying for sex, didn't just watch the Super Bowl with President Trump last month. She also started a consulting business in 2017 offering Chinese business executives access to Trump, including at his private Mar-a-Lago club, Mother Jones reported Saturday. On Sunday, Mother Jones said Yang is also an officer in local chapters of two clubs with ties to China's Communist government.

The website for Yang's business, GY US Investments LLC, went offline Friday after the Miami Herald reported Yang's ties to Trump, as did her Facebook page with photos of her posing with Trump, Trump family members, Cabinet secretaries, and other boldface Republican politicians. But an archived version of GY's site offered "the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce, and other political figures," at Mar-a-Lago and in Washington. "If the posted photos are authentic, she has been able to get Chinese clients at least into the Trump circle for a quick pic," Mother Jones says.

"It remains unclear how much Li Yang charged for the services and whether she was ever hired to provide them," The Associated Press cautions, but "patrons attending a Republican National Committee dinner at Mar-a-Lago last year noticed a large contingent of Chinese attendees."

Selling Chinese business executives access to the president of the United States at his private club and other venues raises serious ethical, campaign finance, and national security concerns. And Yang, who emigrated from China about 20 years ago, showed no demonstrable interest in politics until the 2016 election, when she and her family began donating more than $58,000 to a pro-Trump PAC and Trump's campaign.

The White House declined to comment on Yang's business. Yang told the Herald "she and her family have never broken the law, but did not answer questions about whether she knew of the allegations that therapists in her spas were offering sex. She added that she was out of the business, would soon be moving to Washington, D.C., and didn't want any negative press."