In his first 100 days Trump has failed at everything but one initiative: he’s been very successful at finding more corrupt ways to make money off the American presidency for his family members and pals than any American president- ever. Trump is corrupt to his core.
Trump is following the pattern set by third rate dictators like the late Saddam Husein, and Fidel Castro.
Trump’s mantra like theirs seems to be: I’m in power to make a buck.
“I like nepotism,” Trump told Larry King in 2006, the year he replaced his “Apprentice” costar with his daughter Ivanka. And now Trump has launched a “I like nepotism,” tax plan that is literally aimed at enriching his family directly.
This “I like nepotism,” tax plan goes way past not releasing his tax forms. Trump is willing to destroy the US economy with an apocalyptic deficit to enrich his clan and their friends.
Only the Trump clan decide who else has power in the Trump administration. Trump semi-purged Steve Bannon, after he butted up against his daughter and adviser-in-law, and he elevated former Goldman Sachs employees Gary Cohn and Dina Powell based in part on their friendly relationships with Ivanka and her husband.
As Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times:
What do you do if you’re a historically unpopular new president, with a record low approval rating by 14 points, facing investigations into the way Russia helped you get elected, with the media judging your first 100 days in office as the weakest of any modern president? Why, you announce a tax cut! And in your self-absorbed way, you announce a tax cut that will hugely benefit yourself.
Trump’s “plan” is to lower taxes for himself, his kids and for corporations and the white oligarchs he’s put in charge of America. The Trump “I like nepotism,” tax plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, without which Trump would have paid less than 4 percent in taxes for 2005; with it, he paid 25 percent. And that’s just a start.
In other words Trump is trying to institutionalize personal corruption.
Trump is trying to codify the Ayn Rand view of the wealthy as deserving to be above the law. While daddy tries to hijack the tax code in favor of the One Percent and his family, Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have hijacked broad portfolios that should belong to the cabinet. They’ve wasted no time in making this power grab pay. Ivanka recently met the Chinese premier. She got nothing for America, but did snag some patents for her swanky brand in China, a hard to achieve coup and good deal for her.
As the Washington Post noted, the real problem with Trump is not what she and her husband, Jared Kushner, contribute to the president’s “image,” but “what their presence says about the culture of this White House. One of the things that distinguishes rule-of-law democracies from personalized dictatorships is their reliance on procedures, not individual whims, and on officials — experienced people, subject to public scrutiny and ethics laws — not the unsackable relatives of the leader. That distinction is now fading.”
No ordinary public official would be allowed to dine with the leader of China, as Trump did, on the same day that China granted valuable trademarks to her company. No civil servant would be able to profit from the jewelry she advertises by wearing on public occasions. As the Washington Post summed it up: “Only in kleptocracies are sons-in-law with broad international business interests allowed to make foreign policy.”
And in the Trump kleptocracy daddy is trying to make sure that Ivanka won’t have to pay taxes on the money she makes in China and in the Arab world. Trump wants to allow big business owners to dodge personal income tax by paying at the much lower corporate rate. Ivanka, for instance, will soon structure her income to pay not at a 39.6 percent top personal rate but the new 15 percent corporate rate… if, that is, daddy’s plan works out.
This isn’t tax policy; it’s an armed robbery of the American people by the Trump Clan and their billionaire cronies.
Countries with high rates of corruption, are the Trump family model for ripping off America in the way papa Trump ripped off students in his so-called university. For instance Trump is more or less copying the Saudi Royal family that he has dealings with. While he picks on innocent defenseless Muslim women and children in airports, he’s let the Saudi clan–who really were implicated the 9/11 attacks–off the hook. Travel? No problem! He likes them and works with them as do his children… so all of a sudden who cares about US security?
“For many countries and governments, certainly in the Gulf, in the Middle East, they would recognize this pattern [of Trump family corruption] immediately,” Gerald Feierstein, who served as ambassador to Yemen from 2010 to 2013 and worked as a deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration he told HuffPost. “I think that they would find it completely normal that leaders mix personal business interests with government affairs and would use family members in various official responsibilities.”
Foreign countries are eagerly taking advantage of the continued business ownership of Trump and his children/advisers.
- As we’ve seen, China approved five new trademarks for Ivanka Trump’s business on the same day she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Ivanka’s business already had 16 registered trademarks in the country and has 30 more pending. The new trademarks covered the brand-name rights for jewelry, spa services and purses. The vast majority of Ivanka Trump’s product line is made in China and imported to the U.S.
- Kushner’s company was seeking an investment from a politically connected Chinese bank into the largest property he owns. Those negotiations ended after members of Congress and others questioned whether it would create a conflict of interest with his work as a go-between for the White House and Chinese leadership. (Kushner sold his stake in the building to a private trust controlled by his family members.)
- Foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Turkey, have held or plan to hold events at Trump’s D.C. hotel, which both the president and his daughter have a stake in. It is not known how many diplomats and foreign dignitaries have decided to book rooms at Trump hotels or properties since the president took office.
“I think the Chinese have already completely figured it out,” Feierstein said. “I would say the Arabs have figured it out. Because, again, from their perspective, this isn’t an unusual thing. One way of ensuring favorable treatment is you take care of the business interests.” Or as Eric Trump, the co-head of Trump’s multibillion-dollar international business, puts it, “Nepotism is kind of a factor of life.” The Saudi royal family couldn’t have put it better.
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Posted by Frank Schaeffer on Thursday, April 27, 2017