It seems there's few weeks that go by that don't see visits by Donald Trump to one of his still-owned, for-profit companies. He might pop by the Trump International Hotel for dinner; he far more often pops off to his Virginia golf course or to his Florida resort. Is it strange that
Many of those properties have seen an uptick in revenue. The Trump National Doral golf resort in Florida increased its revenue by around $1.2 million in 2018. Revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Washington — which has become a top destination for Republicans — increased by $400,000. And the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia saw its revenue go up more than $500,000 each.
The exception is Mar-a-Lago, which saw a slight downtick in 2018. It is possible that there is such a thing as too many Trump visits—a constant Secret Service presence is probably not what most of Trump's customers are looking for, in his sitting-around club for Florida's most wealthy and least discerning. It's also possible Mar-a-Lago has such a different clientele from the more accessible hotel and golf courses as to render them incomparable.
Trump's Washington hotel, in particular, has become something of a tourist trap for Trump fans and visiting foreign dignitaries alike: If you're looking to topple the Iranian government, spending in a Trump VIP suite might serve to polish your credibility a bit. And both the Republican Party proper and a litany of lobbying groups have settled on the Trump International as the new hip place to be seen—and a "legal" method by which they can earn Trump's good graces by shoving money directly into his wallet.
For those of you under the age of two—and I hope you have your parents’ permission to be on this website, because I will warn you we regularly say bad words like damn and poop here—we should clarify that this is not even remotely normal. A sitting president making a financial profit off industries and individuals seeking administration favors? It is, in the modern era, unheard of.
As recently as a single administration ago it was nearly unimaginable that a sitting president would be using the trappings of national office as advertising backdrop for his own line of for-profit products. Lobbyist groups or supplicating downticket candidates stuffing money into a president's corporate accounts would have been given a –gate suffix and the sort of front-page lettering usually reserved for wars and blimp disasters. It is so obviously, brazenly crooked to pay a sitting president cash to gain his attention that it could barely be taken seriously enough to count as a movie plot.
But here we are: It went from unthinkable corruption scandal to business as usual in the span of one vote-counting, and all because each and every Republican leader, in turn, stood in front of reporters and asserted that it was Fine Now because Screw You, That's Why. And a sitting president is seeing a revenue boost to the corporate holdings he most conspicuously promotes, and wealthy industries, governments, and individuals are lining up to give the president of the United States their cash and Congress isn't allowed to even look at the tax receipts, says the presidential cabinet, to sniff out who's been paying what.
It really is a hell of a thing. Never let yourself be anything but gobsmacked by it.
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