For those concerned about Donald Trump profiting from his presidency, the latest headlines paint a deeply unsettling picture. For example, Politico ran this report yesterday afternoon:
The Secret Service spent more than a quarter of a million dollars at President Donald Trump’s properties over the course of five months in 2017, newly released documents show.
The documents outline Secret Service credit card expenditures for Trump properties and businesses between Jan. 27 and June 9, 2017, and were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request via the nonprofit watchdog group Property of the People.
The article added, in case it’s not obvious, that the taxpayer-funded expenditures “raise new questions about the extent to which Trump is personally profiting from the federal government, which is prohibited by the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause.”
And speaking of the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause, the Washington Post yesterday reported on a related new controversy.
When Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin came to Washington in January for two nights – one of many visits the Republican had made to the nation’s capital – he stayed at President Trump’s D.C. hotel. Kentucky taxpayers initially footed the $686 bill, records obtained by The Washington Post show.
Although Kentucky’s Republican Party reimbursed the state for Bevin’s stay two months later, the transaction may still run afoul of an anti-corruption provision of the Constitution barring the president from receiving any “emoluments,” or payments, from the states, legal experts say.
And then, of course, there’s arguably the most outrageous example of the Republican’s corruption to date: Trump’s effort to have a G-7 summit hosted at one of his struggling venues. The Washington Post had this report seven days ago:
Secret Service agents had identified four U.S. sites as finalists for next year’s Group of Seven summit – but then they were told to add a new finalist: President Trump’s Doral resort, according to an internal Secret Service email released late Friday.
“Our original itinerary included Hawaii, Utah, California and North Carolina,” a Secret Service official wrote, describing a trip that a team of Secret Service personnel took in July to examine the finalists. “By departure, they had already cut two (California and North Carolina) and added Miami on the back end.”
“Miami” meant President Trump’s resort near the Miami airport, which hadn’t been among the original 10 sites that the Secret Service team had vetted. Although vetting of possible sites had begun in late May, the official wrote on July 12 that “yesterday was the first time we put eyes on this [Doral] property.”
It’s a dynamic unlike anything in the American tradition.