The Trump Kleptocracy

November 29, 2016

Can those of us worried about the direction that the PEOTUS is leading us with his appointments, his choice of family members invited into diplomatic meetings, and his obvious lack of concern for conflicts and corruption keep the volume on the Outrage Meter at 11 for each and every event that provokes such emotion? Won’t the clapper on the Alarm Bell of Injustice simply wear out at some point? Won’t people simply stop hearing it?

Conservative writer Ben Shapiro thinks so. He recently appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources and said as much. Conservative writer and Twitter must-follow David Frum has repeatedly said that the little outrages are all a plot to distract people from the gigantic outrage of Trump’s use of the office to enrich himself. Keep your eyes off @realdonaldtrump and on the money.

We’re still just learning how to deal with this. It’s all new, but it’s going to get old very quickly.

There’s much to be concerned about, but the most egregious thing isn’t the railing against the cast of Hamilton. It’s the blatant shaking down of foreign governments, both where Trump has properties and where he doesn’t. It’s already been made quite clear to foreign leaders that Trump’s Washington and New York hotels are the places to stay when visiting the Administration. They do so for the same reason that I make sure I drink MillerCoors products when I’m out with their distributors, why I rented from Hertz when calling on Ford, and why I pick the hotel I do when calling on my hotelier clients. The fact that we know that the PEOTUS has already asked Argentina and Scotland for favors for his properties, and the Indian owners of a Trump-affiliated property are making much of their connection to Trump only make this worse.

Those Trump supporters concerned before the election about the potential for corruption with the Clinton Foundation remain strangely silent about these troubling facts.

At this point, all I’ve heard from my Trump-supporting friends is that I should, “Calm down. The Dow is up 3% and your taxes are going to be cut and companies will be repatriating billions in cash and everything’s going to be fine. Besides, he hasn’t done anything yet!” They offer no substantive defense of the (grossly inexperienced) nominees, his thin-skinned disposition, the social media distractions, the shakedowns, or the personal benefits being lined up.

On the plus side, I’ve learned the name of the clause in the Constitution relating to the personal enrichment of federal employees. It’s called the “Emoluments Clause.” Expect to hear more about this over the next little while.

I wonder if Trump’s strategy is the lay the ground rules now while still technically a private citizen so that everyone knows how to play the game, so that he doesn’t have to do anything shaking down after he takes the oath at Noon on January 20. Accrue all the benefits now, and harvest the rewards later. The damage is done. I doubt he’s thought it through that thoroughly. Based on his decision making pattern thus far, I’m expecting President Trump will govern by the “Seat of His Pants Doctrine.”

The League of Ordinary Nations has a new member. The Trump Kleptocracy reigns.

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