Friday, June 22, 2018 at 6:22 AM

America’s First Family: the Rich Getting Richer

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Donald J. Trump is the richest president in US history. Therefore, it’s ironic that he’s cheapening the presidency more than any other. But that irony is laced with gall. Because this cheapening is directly proportional to the way he’s using the presidency to enrich himself and his family.

I have written many commentaries warning it would be thus. I refer you to “Trump for President? Don’t Be a Sucker?” April 8, 2011, “Trump’s 3-Card Monte of an Address to Joint Session of Congress,” March 1, 2017, and “Trump, Jared, and Ivanka Forgoing Salaries Is Just Another Bait and Switch,” April 3, 2017, which includes this excerpt.

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First President Trump made a show of forgoing his salary ($400k). Then Jared did the same ($175-200k). Now Ivanka is following suit. Mind you, given their job performances, this only means that the American people are getting exactly what they’re paying for. …

Trump’s spinmeisters are asserting that the country should be grateful for his, Jared, and Ivanka’s sacrifice. Never mind that public-spirited people are usually the ones who are grateful for the honor of serving their country, especially in the White House. …

Congress should pass a law requiring all federal employees to take their salaries. Because it’s a patent insult for rich people to pretend they’re doing the American people a favor by forgoing theirs. The government that pays defense contractors $100,000 for a toilet can easily pay their salaries.

More to the point, though, it’s hardly a sacrifice if the members of this nepotistic triumvirate forgo hundreds of thousands in government salaries only to use their positions to generate hundreds of millions in private revenues. This is a bait and switch worthy of the Art of the Steal.

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Now come reports that these public servants raked in more money during the first year of his presidency than they ever did as private citizens.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, brought in at least $82 million in outside income while serving as senior White House advisers during 2017, according to financial disclosure forms released Monday. …

The filings show how the couple are collecting immense sums from other enterprises while serving in the White House, an extraordinary income flow that ethics experts have warned could create potential conflicts of interests.

(The Washington Post, June 11, 2018)

Again, this will come as a surprise only to willfully ignorant suckers.

But if you think Jared and Ivanka are making out like bandits, Trump is making their loot seem like chump change. In a report on October 30, 2017, Newsweek conceded that the sums are too imperial to count but delineated the top five ways Trump is competing with the Treasury when it comes to printing money:

  • Trump is continuing his global business ventures, despite vows of no new foreign deals.
  • Business is booming at his Mar-a-Lago resort. (Trump complains that the $17 million spent to date on the Mueller probe is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Yet the Washington Post reported earlier this month (on June 1) that he has spent nearly $40 million to date on 17 trips to this resort. How’s that for a waste of taxpayer dollars!)
  • Trump’s new hotel in Washington is banking $7-10 million a month (emoluments smoluments).
  • The first family is profiting from visits to Trump-branded properties and golf courses.
  • Trump-branded book royalties are soaring.

But US News summed up this brazen and unprecedented fleecing of America a few months ago (on March 5) as follows:

[W]hen it comes to wringing bucks out of this administration, no one can match President Donald Trump himself for the sheer depth and breadth of his national grift.

Without precedent in U.S. history we have a president who sees profit as the natural and immediate spoils of office.

Mind you, none of this includes the bucks his sons Eric and Don Jr. are raking in by trading on his presidency. Reports abound about their entitled deal making (e.g., hotel in Vancouver, condos in Uruguay, golf course in Dubai, all-inclusive resort in Indonesia, and 17 letters of intent to develop hotels across America) – all of which probably makes even their daddy warbucks green with envy.

Frankly, not since the French reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has a first family felt their public offices entitled them to untold personal riches like the Trumps clearly do. Melania Trump reinforced this shameful symmetry just yesterday when she decided – for some inexplicable reason – to pull this stunt:

Host Anderson Cooper was discussing the jacket that the first lady wore en route to visit with migrant children separated from their parents at a Texas shelter on Thursday that read, ‘I don’t really care. Do you?’

‘She’s officially the Marie Antoinette of this administration,’ CNN analyst Kirsten Powers said. ‘It should just say ‘let them eat cake,’ that they literally just don’t care about what’s happening there.’

(The Hill, June 21, 2018)

Like I said the morning after (willfully ignorant) Americans elected Trump the 45th president of the United States: “WTF! President-elect Donald J. Trump?! America. What. Have. You. Done.” November 9, 2016.

Well, the brazen way the Trumps are enriching themselves and the careless way they are dealing with this immigration crisis are just two of the many ways the chickens are now coming home to roost … every which way but loose.

Related commentaries:
Trump for pres? Don’t be a sucker
Trump’s three-card monte
Bait and switch
separating migrant children
what have you done

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