Turkey and Saudi Arabia

The one in Turkey. There is a Trump Towers Istanbul.

Donald Trump’s company has been paid up to $10 million by the tower’s developers since 2014 to affix the Trump name atop the luxury complex, whose owner, one of Turkey’s biggest oil and media conglomerates, has become an influential megaphone for the country’s increasingly repressive regime.

That, ethics advisers said, forces the Trump complex into an unprecedented nexus: as both a potential channel for dealmakers seeking to curry favor with the Trump White House and a potential target for attacks or security risks overseas.

The president-elect’s Turkey deal marks a harrowing vulnerability that even Trump has deemed “a little conflict of interest”: a private moneymaker that could open him to foreign influence and tilt his decision-making as America’s executive in chief.

But we should just trust him, right? He’s always shown himself to be an honorable, fair-minded, impartial, idealistic man, right? We’ve always known him to be motivated by the public good rather than his own bank account, right?


But the ethics experts eyeing Trump’s empire are now warning of many others, found among a vast assortment of foreign business interests never before seen in past presidencies. At least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia and the Middle East, a Washington Post analysis of Trump financial filings shows.

So, really, from the point of view of conflicts of interest, we could hardly have chosen anyone worse.

Also from the point of view of character and motivation…we could hardly have chosen worse. Trump is driven by greed – for money, for status, for dominance, for power, for sex – and not much else. He’s a giant Appetite, with no apparent altruism or empathy or public interest of any kind.

The business interests range from sprawling, ultraluxury real estate complexes to one-man holding companies and branding deals in Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Panama and other countries, including some where the United States maintains sensitive diplomatic ties.

Some companies reflect long-established deals while others were launched as recently as Trump’s campaign, including eight that appear tied to a potential hotel project in Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Arab kingdom that Trump has said he “would want to protect.”

I guess we should be thankful that Bangladesh is not oil-rich.

“There are so many diplomatic, political, even national security risks in having the president own a whole bunch of properties all over the world,” said Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush.

“If we’ve got to talk to a foreign government about their behavior, or negotiate a treaty, or some country asks us to send our troops in to defend someone else, we’ve got to make a decision. And the question becomes: Are we going in out of our national interest or because there’s a Trump casino around?” Painter added.

Oh well maybe by that time the national interest and the Trump interest will have become one and the same.

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