It’s either an amazing coincidence or another sign that Donald Trump is making great deals—deals benefiting his business conglomerate, known as the Trump Organization—at the expense of the American people.
Here’s the deal. Trump recently tweeted a head-scratching statement that we can’t let the Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, go out of business at a cost of thousands of jobs for Chinese workers. It was as if he was saying: Let’s make China Great again. The company is under U.S. sanctions for violating its agreement with U.S. companies that supply it with American-made components. Trump’s tweet is totally counter to his repeated claim that China “is raping us” through unfair trade practices, and stealing American jobs.
So what’s up? Just days before that tweet, the Chinese government decided to spend $500 million on an Indonesian project that would benefit the Trump Organization’s plan to build hotels. In addition, the Chinese government that same week gave Ivanka Trump five new trademarks for her business. Not only is Ivanka the president’s daughter, but also a White House aide. (Click to read about this deal.)
So it’s quite a coincidence that these favorable events are taking place for the Trump Organization just before Trump decides to act to save a major Chinese telecommunications company. No quid pro quo has been documented, but the implications are obvious. Trump seems to think that what’s good for him and his company is what’s good for the country. It’s the kind of thinking that is the very fabric of authoritarian regimes.
Even if we ignore the ZTE issue and it’s bad actions regarding U.S. and international laws, Trump is clearly ignoring the Emoluments Clause that prevents a sitting president from profiting from business deals. It would also violate his own agreement, struck at the beginning of his presidency, not to make any new foreign deals for the Trump Organization. Ivanka is also in violation of conflict of interest rules.
Bottom line: the guy who said he would drain the swamp is polluting it as never before.