President Donald Trump did not financially detach himself from his global business empire upon taking office, allowing for stories like the following latest batch of potential corruption to unfold. As the Miami Herald explains, a south Florida-based Marine unit is apparently planning to host this year’s latest installment of an annual ball at none other than Trump’s own Mar-a-Lago resort, which he’s personally visited plenty of times while in office and which technically he profits from.
The event is still in its early stages — it’s set for November 16 — and details like how much the unit might be preparing to shell out to the Trump property were not immediately clear. The publication shares that a Marine at the reserve unit’s West Palm Beach office suggested that the venue wasn’t even set in stone yet (although there’s an online event listing) but that a “final decision would be made next week,” adding:
‘It’s a work in progress. We are planning on Mar-a-Lago but nothing is set in stone. We booked it but there were complications involved… It’s just money and some other things. We’re doing our best.’
They may be “doing their best,” but these plans have emerged as Congressional Democrats and other concerned interests actively look into other similar expenses from arms of the military and government at large at Trump-branded properties. For example, the Air Force spent a whopping “$184,000 on overnight stays at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland during refueling stops, instead of transiting through a military base,” the Herald notes. Also recently, Vice President Mike Pence visited Ireland and instead of staying in even the vicinity of the capital city of Dublin, where he’d be having meetings, he stayed at none other than a Trump-branded property in Doonbeg — and racked up ground transportation charges of a whopping nearly $600,000 in taxpayer money getting back and forth to and from Dublin.
Air Force leaders have kickstarted an internal review of their military’s branch’s expenses at Trump Turnberry, and Congressional Democrats have also been after answers. In Pence’s case, figures as high-profile as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who’s also a leading presidential candidate — have written to figures like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding documents showing how the decision for Pence to stay at Trump Doonbeg was reached.
Neither Trump nor any key figures in his inner circles seem to think that the expenses are any problem at all. The flippancy with which the president approaches this issue is well indicated by his not too long ago suggestion to hold the next G7 summit of world leaders at his Trump Doral resort near Miami, Florida, where if the event took place, Trump could directly profit off world leaders at completely unprecedented levels.
Trump has claimed that he’s actually losing money while he’s in office as president — and that could be true. There have been numerous documented hits to income at Trump properties around the world since he took office and fewer and fewer people have wanted to be anywhere around his name. In 2018, revenue at Mar-a-Lago fell 10 percent from the year before’s level.
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