With the announcement earlier this week that Donald Trump has yet again (for the 3rd time) failed to act on his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare, Trump supporters are faced with coming to the realization that their man is all talk and very little action. In fact, Trump may go down in history as being one of the laziest Presidents in modern history as his penchant for leisure activities takes him out of Washington, DC on almost a weekly basis. This, no doubt, has contributed to his inability to close deals and advance his political agenda. Despite his hyperbole in claiming to be a world-renowned negotiator, the fact remains that Trump has done very little negotiating and instead opted to lead from behind and allow Republicans in the House and Senate to do the heavy lifting. With a recently released Gallup poll showing Trump’s approval rating hitting a new low of only 36% approval, and a recent report indicating that Trump falls far behind other modern day Presidents with legislative accomplishments in the first six months in office, Trump is quickly becoming a failed President who has given up on advancing his own agenda.
However, regardless of his failure in providing the citizens of this country with better lives as a result of his good governance, there is one thing that Trump seems to be really, really, really good at – which is using the Presidency to enrich himself! Now, some may feel this isn’t that big of a deal because we have government agencies responsible for making sure that conflicts of interests don’t take place which would allow someone to profit off being President. We’ll, you would be correct, however, just last week the head of the agency responsible for providing such oversight has resigned in protest. Walter M. Shaub Jr., the Director of the independent Office of Government Ethics, has challenged the Trump administration on what he categorized as numerous financial ethics violations.
Shaub has encouraged Trump to fully divest from his personal business in order to avoid Trump being able to profit from being President. Trump, however, refused to fully divest and as of today, is making millions of dollars from his role as President of the United States. Trump is quickly going down in history as a profiteer President. He is already setting records for the amount of money made by a President while in office and we are only in the first six months of his Presidency. Here are just a few examples of how Trump is enriching himself with your money:
In June of 2016, Trump applied for several trademarks in China. He and his company have actually been in disputes with China for years over trademarks which the country failed to approve. Trademarks enable Trump and his team to sale his merchandise in foreign countries and use his signature branding to do so. However, China has consistently denied Trump’s requests for trademarks. That was until he decided to run for President. Coincidentally as Trump was running for President his team was busy submitting additional requests for trademarks to China. If you recall it was also during this time that Trump began accusing China of manipulating their currency and ratcheting up criticism of the country. After winning the election, one of Trump’s first acts was to hold a phone call with an enemy of China (Taiwan) which sent further signals that Trump had it in for China. Well, that was until China decided to approve those trademarks which Trump so desperately wanted. After the trademarks were approved, Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited to visit Trump at his club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach Florida. Today, Trump speaks highly of China and President Jinping and has curiously dropped all criticism of the country. The approval of the trademarks opens the door to the Chinese markets and could potentially earn Trump millions of dollars.
Recently, due to government disclosure requirements, Trump reported losing money on a number of his ventures such as his golf clubs and real-estate assets. With that said, Trump is finding a silver lining in certain sectors which seem to be generating lots of cash as a result of tax payers money. Trump’s famed Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach recently saw a profit of $8 million over the last year. After Trump won the election his company increased Mar-a-Lago membership prices by half – and with Trump now using the club as a second home, the government must pay for accommodations and space. Also, Trump’s once failed airline, Tag Air, had a resurgence in profits recently. The airline more than doubled its 2015 profits coming in at $7.7 million last year. It should be noted that Trump used his airline for travel during the campaign and his family continues to travel conducting government business on the airline costing tax payers millions.
Many may remember Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia where the country lavishly ingratiated Trump and awarded him the country’s highest honor. The Saudi government, while having been a close partner of the United States, has not necessarily been a good one. Aside from their history of human-rights abuses, the Saudis have come under pressure for their on-going war with Yemen which the United States quietly supports, but has issues with the Saudis’ indiscriminate bombing. The Saudis also have been lobbying forces in America attempting to combat the family members of 9-11 victims who have been actively pursuing the Saudis in court for their citizen’s involvement the 9-11 attacks. With Trump in the White House, however, the Saudi government has found a new way of gaining access and lobbying for their issues. Financial reports show that the Saudi government has spent nearly $270,000 on lodging and catering at Trump’s DC Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave. Trump also has business interests in Saudi Arabia and during his campaign established eight new business in the country. With lots of money flowing and business interest entangled, it’s clear to see that Trump’s reluctance to hold the country accountable is interlinked with their willingness to do business with Trump establishments.
For more information on the full list of Trump ethics violations (click here)
What’s important to note is not only the fact that Trump and his family are making millions of dollars by utilizing the power of the Presidency in their favor, but that they are also, in some cases, profiting with tax payer money. The U.S. government to date has paid millions of dollars to the Trump family for expenses connected to travel, lodging, catering, and office use. While these expenses are normal for Presidents to accrue, it is completely abnormal for the money of these expenses to go in the pocket of the President himself. With millions of dollars already made in the first six months of the Trump Presidency, one could only imagine what the final bill will be after four years in office. While Trump has been a dismal President thus far in the area of governing, and has done very little to advance the plight of the American working-class, one area he excels in is enriching himself with our money while serving as President.