The Republican party has a problem that goes far beyond Donald Trump’s lack of intellectual curiosity. The GOP thought they elected a Republican president. In fact they elected an oligarch whose only allegiance is to himself.
Trump is still six weeks away from becoming president, and there’s already growing concern and outrage over the intermingling of Trump’s family business and the presidency.
And the whole thing just got a lot worse with the announcement that Trump’s son Eric is heading to Taiwan on business, not 24 hours after Trump broke nearly 40 years of US-China policy by calling the Taiwanese leader and then publicly tweeting about having spoken to the “President of Taiwan.”
Trump sucks up to Taiwan one day before we find out Trump’s son is heading to Taiwan to seal a hotel deal.
But this isn’t the first time President-elect Trump appeared to cross the line into oligarchy. Trump, who famously refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, has already been playing fast and loose with the line between his presidency and his business empire.
Trump and India
Just one week after the election, Trump met in New York with his Indian business partners. The Indians also met with Trump’s children Ivanka and Eric. Trump has already said that his children will be taking over his company while he’s president. Yet they’re all attending meetings together with foreign business partners. A clear intermingling of Trump Inc. and the White House.
Trump and Argentina
Then there’s Argentina. Here’s ThinkProgress on how Donald Trump handled his call with the Argentine president:
It wasn’t until November 14 that Trump carved out time for the South American leader. They spoke for 15 minutes. Prominent Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata reported that this call included a request from Trump that Macri help him secure the necessary permits to build a long-awaited downtown Buenos Aires Trump tower. Talking Points Memo was the first U.S. outlet to pick up the accusation, which both Macri and Trump swiftly denied.
Yet Reuters later confirmed that Ivanka Trump — who is a key player in the family business — was also on the call. The very next day, the investment group building the $100 million Trump-branded tower in Buenos Aires announced that they were moving full speed ahead, and that they “just barely need to take care of a few administrative details.”
Once again, Trump and Ivanka tag-teaming the White House and the business.
Trump and the UK
Then there was President-elect Trump urging British politicians to make a policy move that would help his help his two Scottish golf courses.
Trump and Japan
Or the time President-elect Trump met with the Japanese prime minister and brought his daughter Ivanka to the meeting.
America elected an oligarch, not a Republican
America, you didn’t elect a Republican, you elected an oligarch. Trump’s GOP bona fides were already suspect. After all, as recently as two years ago, Trump said he was a Democrat.
Now, Republican thought-leaders like the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and thoughtless grassroots leaders like Sarah Palin, have criticized Trump’s Carrier deal. Palin called it crony capitalism and socialism, whereby the government picks winners and losers.
Adding to the damage, Mike Pence said on the Sunday shows that Trump might just attack American businesses every day of his presidency.
And that’s how you should be viewing Trump’s crooked business deals. Not simply that Trump is trying to enrich himself, but rather that Trump thinks he as president now has, and should have, sway over every business in America. And in the same way Trump thinks he can tell Carrier, and now a second Indiana business, whether or not its best for them to move jobs abroad, Trump sees it as his presidential duty to ensure that Trump Inc. profits from his tenure in the White House. In Trump’s mind, he as president will be intervening in private business decisions to the betterment of America.
Keep in mind that just last week, Trump’s economic adviser told Republicans in Congress that Ronald Reagan is for all intents and purposes dead. They’re now the party of Trump, not Reagan. That’s a pretty huge violation of GOP orthodoxy. But Trump doesn’t care, because Trump isn’t a Republican.
PEOTUS Trump is acting brazenly corrupt
As if offing Reagan, and endorsing “crony capitalism,” weren’t enough to give the GOP an aneurysm, the brazen way in which Trump is willing to flaunt the intermingling of his presidency and his business ought to give Republicans serious pause.
In America, we don’t use the presidency to line our pockets. Trump liked to claim that the Clintons did, but they really didn’t. They made their money once they left. But Trump seems to have believed his own campaign speeches. In Trump’s mind, the Clintons used the presidency to make a killing, so why shouldn’t he?
But what’s particularly bad — as if that weren’t bad enough — is that Trump sees no reason to hide the appearance of corruption. If people find out 24 hours after Trump oddly embraces Taiwan that his son is flying to Taiwan to ink a hotel deal, then so be it. Trump doesn’t care.
And Republicans ought to care. They ought to care that Trump is already turning his presidency into a personal ATM. And they ought to care about the brazen manner in which Trump is doing it. He’s going to get caught. At some point, Democrats are going to take back the House, the Senate, and/or the presidency; or Trump’s corruption will be so over the top that Republicans, or the FBI, will have no choice but to investigate. And a lot of people are going to go to end up in jail.
And none of that will help Republicans win elections in the future. At some point, the GOP establishment in Washington will figure out that Donald Trump endangers their future. And that’s the moment when Trump’s house of cards will come crashing down.