Sunday, July 09, 2017

How Long Until Trump’s Self-Dealing Becomes Our New Normal?

By Rob Garver
June 29, 2017

Barely six months into his four-year term, President Trump raised something on the order of $10 million at a fundraiser Wednesday night, most of which will go to his reelection campaign in 2020.

After running as a supposed populist who championed the “forgotten” people of the U.S., he raised the money at a $35,000-per-person banquet, crowded with the kind of people whose wealth and influence guarantees that they will never be counted among the forgotten, at least as long as U.S. campaign finance laws remain as they are.

The banquet was held in Trump’s own Trump International Hotel, just down the street from the White House. The details of how the dinner was financed weren’t available on Wednesday, but there is a long pattern of Trump’s campaign apparatus paying Trump’s personally-owned businesses for services. There’s no reason to doubt that the Trump International received the market rate for hosting a large and expensive event, a rate that would include a margin for profit that will make it back to accounts personally owned by Trump himself.


Trump has repeatedly showcased his properties for high-profile events, from meetings with foreign leaders to last night’s fundraiser. In all cases, the government is obliged to pay market rate for the services delivered by Trump’s businesses, which translates into money in the president’s own pocket.


Foreign officials have already made it plain that they elect to patronize Trump establishments because of the perceived benefits that might accrue to them from spending money there rather than with the president’s competition.

This is not normal. But the danger is that it is, through sheer repetition and the onset of outrage fatigue, it will become so.

In other words, this is not normal, yet.

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