The Trump administration is essentially a traveling circus, and Donald Trump is cashing in by charging people to access them.
Donald Trump’s politics are getting so convoluted with his business ventures, particularly given the number of vacations he’s taken this year and the amount of access he provides to fellow vacationers. Essentially, all you need to do to get a private word in with the president, is pay $200,000 a year for a membership to his Mar-A-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to new reports.
President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were seen mingling with Mar-a-Lago charity ball attendees Saturday night.
The president previously made waves at Mar-a-Lago by discussing confidential, sensitive national security concerns pertaining to North Korea openly, over dinner and within earshot of dozens or more club members.
This past weekend, the charity event held was put on by the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. It is unclear whether the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute paid to rent the space for their gala and extra to provide their guests the chance to shake hands with the president and some of his closest officials.
Tickets for Bascom Palmer’s gala started at $600, or $5,000 for four seats and a membership to the Bascom Palmer’s Friend Society. The highest level ticket is where things begin to really get interesting – Bascom Palmer identifies it comes with two tables for ten people, a recognition in the 2017 issue of the institute’s magazine and “an invitation to pre-gala events” for $50,000. We hope handshaking with the president wasn’t the pre-planned “pre-gala event,” but who is to say for sure?
It certainly seems like a plausible possibility, given that not even a week following Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was reported that he doubled the membership fee for the Mar-a-Lago club, from $100,000 to $200,000 per annum.
Calling Mar-a-Lago his “Winter White House” and subsequently charging lavish admission prices in and of itself is quite an ethical conundrum. This is not even considering the fact that of the roughly 500 members, many are directly involved in industries which Trump’s policies might influence. According to The New York Times, real estate developers, Wall Street financiers and energy executives represent a small few of the dozens of industries represented at Mar-a-Lago. They also reported that at least three club members are under formal consideration for an ambassadorship.
This is not out of line with all of the other ways he has fiscally benefited from his position in the White House, either. He conveniently opened a Trump Hotel around the corner from the White House in and around the time he would be taking office, which has now hosted many foreign diplomats.
While none of this is particularly surprising, it is dismally disappointing. What kind of sophisticated government do we really have, if these kinds of common sense conflicts of interest are permissible, or at least, there is nothing enforceable to prevent and curb it?
In so many ways, Donald Trump has highlighted all of the flaws in America’s current political system. From winning the election despite losing the popular vote, to blanket-signing executive orders, to these ethical issues – the Trump reign is perhaps the most controversial presidency in modern American history, and rightfully so.
Check out the photo evidence here:
Wealthy Mar-A-Lago members had access to Trump & 3 Cabinet officials this weekend: Attorney Gen. Sessions, DHS Sec Kelly, Commerce Sec Ross. pic.twitter.com/WPk05h8WsV
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) March 6, 2017
Feature Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.