Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, February 4th, 2017.


Trump Maladministration

From what I can tell from a bit of googling, it’s not normal for the adult children of presidents to get Secret Service details, except under extraordinary circumstances. Yet here we are [emphasis added].

When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff. …

…The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand.

Here comes the WTF? section:

The bill for the Secret Service’s hotel rooms in Uruguay totaled $88,320. The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, paid an additional $9,510 for its staff to stay in hotel rooms to “support” the Secret Service detail for the “VIP visit,” according to purchasing orders reviewed by The Washington Post.

I mean, seriously, WTF? Which staff? Security? What if the embassy had been attacked? Or were the embassy staff being supplied to Eric for other reasons? How does he get off using embassy staff as if they were his employees?

Trump’s business arrangements are flat-out unacceptable.

While the president says he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, two people close to him are the named trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son, Donald Jr., and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Mr. Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time.

What’s more, the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president. This trust remains under Mr. Trump’s Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned. …

…While the trust structure, outlined in documents made public through a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, may give the president the appearance of distance from his business, it drew sharp criticism from experts in government ethics.

“I don’t see how this in the slightest bit avoids a conflict of interest,” said Frederick J. Tansill, a trust and estates lawyer from Virginia who examined the documents at the request of The New York Times. “First it is revocable at any time, and it is his son and his chief financial officer who are running it.”

Handing the business over to Uday and Qusay apparently isn’t separating the Trump business and the thing in the Oval Office even a little bit, considering that Eric Trump can go on a business trip to Uruguay and treat U.S. embassy staff as extensions of his entourage
Whenever the Orange Atrocity is pried out of the White House, we’re going to need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent something like this from happening with future presidents.
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