Presidenting for profit and profit

A whole entire line of Trump corruption I for one didn’t know about:

Donald Trump made more than a billion dollars while serving as president, including $14 million in income from his business interests in Indonesia from 2015 to 2019, according to a CREW analysis of his tax returns. During that same period, he earned $234 million in total from businesses in foreign countries with interests in U.S. foreign policy. 

That’s so interesting because the normal thing to do on achieving political office is to divest oneself of business interests, by at minimum handing them over to other people to manage and maintaining complete separation between self and those other people. The idea is to get rid of all ability and temptation to use the political office for corrupt purposes. Donald Trump on the other hand goes “Oh boy!!!” and does every corrupt thing he can find to do.

CREW spent years ringing the alarm bell on the unprecedented number of conflicts of interest that marred Trump’s presidency, arising from his decision not to separate from the Trump Organization when he entered office. Trump’s conflicts of interest in Indonesia ranked among the most egregious. 

What I’m saying. The Trump Organization should have been dead to him. That’s not how it played out.

During his presidency, Trump’s son met with Indonesian government officials, the daughter of his Indonesian business partner obtained a high-ranking government position with authority over Trump’s businesses, and once he left office one of the developments he profited from received special tax breaks from the Indonesian government. Trump was making millions from the country as those events took place. 

While he was the head of state.

While Trump was in office his son and Trump Organization executive Eric Trump told Fox News, “When my father became commander in chief of this country, we got out of all international business.” Trump pledged that his company would pursue “no new foreign deals” during his presidency and spent four years denying claims that he was profiting from the presidency.

Read the whole CREW piece for details of how untrue that was.

Trump’s decision not to divest from the Trump Organization cast a dark shadow of corruption over his presidency. It is no secret that Trump was struggling financially and in deep debt before he became president. The release of his tax returns show that for Trump, the presidency was a chance to get back in the black. Even if he did donate his presidential salary — a promise that he may have broken in 2020 while also forcing government agencies to spend taxpayer money at his properties — that income is nothing compared to the money he earned from his properties at home and abroad. For his failing hotels, resorts, and golf courses, Trump’s election was a money-making opportunity that created a huge influx of business from foreign governments looking to ingratiate themselves with the commander in chief. 

Not how any of this is supposed to work.

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