As water-carriers for the corporate and crony greed that fuels their existence, it should come as no surprise that Republican politicians share the inclination of their bosses to use their positions for personal gain.
There’s no more striking example of that than the current president. Last week Mark Sumner reported in The Daily Kos: “Those donating to Donald Trump’s 2020 election fund are directly plugging a financial hole in Trump’s struggling real estate ‘empire.’ With more and more of Trump Tower turning into the vertical equivalent of a failing suburban mall, Trump’s campaign is filling up that space. And his campaign is routing funds right back into Trump’s pockets.”
Sumner reports that companies have been fleeing Trump Tower to avoid association with a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic president. So, to fill the empty rooms, the Trump campaign spends $37,000 a month on Trump Tower rent, according to The Huffington Post.
Trump’s hotel in Washington offers flatterers an “in” with Trump. Sumner notes the “hotel has been bolstered by injections of cash from guests who want to please Trump before a White House visit—especially corporations and foreign officials.” Among the most frequent “guests” are representatives of Saudi Arabia.
Last year Business Insider reported: “Trump said he has ‘no financial interests in Saudi Arabia.’ But his businesses have made millions from the Saudi government, and the crown prince gave his New York City hotel a huge boost.”
Last week NBC News reported, “The Trump administration approved the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia twice after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to information shared with members of Congress.”
And, Trump “ bypassed lawmakers on May 24 to push through more than $8 billion worth of arms deals to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan,” according to NBC. The Saudis are happy; the Masters of War are happy; Trump’s hotel is guaranteed more business.
And he continues to use official business to promote his own businesses.
Yes, we could make this all about Trump. But, let’s be fair. Wonder why Mitch McConnell feels friendly toward Russia?
Jason Easley of Politicus answers that query: “It is not a coincidence that the least popular senator in America used his power as Senate Majority Leader to stop Democrats from re-imposing sanctions on a Russian oligarch and then that same oligarch just so happens to invest $200 million in McConnell’s home state before the reviled senator is running for reelection.”
Turns out the McConnells are as adept at grifting as the Trumps.
Last week, the Daily Kos reported: “Elaine Chao, Trump cabinet member (Transportation Secretary) and wife of McConnell used her post to promote a family business.”
I tried to point out while the tax scam was being implemented that most of the Republican rank and file are too poor to be Republicans. I’ll venture to say that most are too honest as well.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party)