The Trump administration is a spectacle of corruption, it seems. According to a new report in The New York Times, the Trump administration has routinely dished out favors to individuals and interests who were patrons of some part of the Trump family business. According to the Times, Trump financial records reveal “over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration.” That is a staggering level of conflict of interest on the part of the White House while Trump has been in charge.
According to the Times, “nearly a quarter” of the over 200 interests who benefited from Trump administration actions while simultaneously patronizing the president’s business have not previously been reported upon. The publication recently revealed that — after years of public interest and Trumpian stonewalling — they had obtained (many of) Trump’s tax returns. Some of the initial revelations included the detail that Trump had apparently paid a mere $750 a year in personal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. In 10 of the previous 15 years, he’d paid nothing in personal income taxes, according to the Times.
Meanwhile, five members of the president’s clubs were even offered ambassadorships by him. Within this latest context, the Times reports the following:
‘Mr. Trump did not merely fail to end Washington’s insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking. He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign… As president, [Trump] built a system of direct presidential influence-peddling unrivaled in modern American politics.’
Indeed — “drain the swamp” is one of many slogans that have frequently rung out at Trump rallies. The idea is that D.C. is a “swamp” of corruption that Trump is confronting. In reality, it’s Donald Trump himself whose family business has reaped millions of dollars in income from interests who had business of some kind before his presidential administration. Trump handed executive control of the business over to Donald Jr. and Eric, his two adult sons, but the president has maintained his financial stake in the enterprise.
According to the Times, there’s a long list of patrons of the Trump Organization who have benefited from Trump administration action. Across the first two years of Trump’s presidency, a mere 60 customers who had business before the Trump administration were responsible for almost $12 million in Trump Organization income — and “almost all” of these customers “saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by Mr. Trump or his government,” according to the Times.
Broadly, patrons of the president’s business while he has been in office include “foreign politicians and Florida sugar barons, a Chinese billionaire and a Serbian prince, clean-energy enthusiasts and their adversaries in the petroleum industry, avowed small-government activists and contractors seeking billions from ever-fattening federal budgets,” according to the Times. The patrons have included more than 70 independent groups, businesses, and foreign governments who “threw events at the president’s properties that were previously held elsewhere, or created new events” entirely, according to the Times. There are a lot of excuses that those behind the money-moving have thrown out, but the facts of the situation are clear.
Read more from the Times at this link.