To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, November 18, 2019

Our Grifter-In-Chief Keeps Enriching Himself

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Article II, Section 1, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution states: “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

NBC News, Sept. 3: “President Donald Trump suggested that Vice President Mike Pence stay at his Irish golf club on an official trip funded by taxpayer dollars, Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short told reporters Tuesday … Rather than stay in Dublin, where he is set for a day of meetings and events with Irish officials, Pence is making the back-and-forth trip from Doonbeg to Dublin, more than an hour flight each way.”

A week later, Daily Kos added that the Pence family boondoggle in Doonbeg “cost U.S. Taxpayers $600,000 for the limos alone” to follow the Pences around town. Flights and limos, but Trumpistas silently assign the tab to American citizens in order for Trump get paid by the U.S. Treasury for the stays at his resorts and the free publicity this brings.

Pretty clear case of an extra emolument.

On Sept. 20, Huffington Post reported, “The U.S. Air Force was spending nearly $200,000 at President Donald Trump’s Turnberry golf resort.”

More money from the U.S. Treasury funneled directly into Trump’s pockets. Another extra emolument.

“The Air Force contract to refuel military planes at Glasgow Prestwick Airport near Trump’s Scottish resort as service members stayed at Turnberry,” HuffPost continues, “is being investigated by the House Oversight Committee and the military. The committee is probing whether the arrangement was an attempt to use taxpayer funds to bail out the struggling Turnberry and the financially ailing airport.”

In September, ABC News reported the, “Pentagon spent at least $184,000 at Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland.”

This is to pay for personnel stays at Trump’s resort. What’s worse is that the fuel for our airplanes “could have been obtained more cheaply at an American military base,” HuffPost reported earlier in the month. There are likely cheaper rooms available for military personnel at military bases – as in bought and paid for by American taxpayers – than at Trump’s resort.

As the Pentagon is part of the U.S. government, it is not supposed to be paying extra emoluments to any president.

But we can’t be surprised when it has cost us [U.S.] more than $100 million get our golfer-in-chief to his resorts – where the stays, according to another HuffPost story, put money in his own pocket and that Trump routinely praises during his visits.

“During his trip to Scotland last year, for example, Trump wrote: ‘I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf – my primary form of exercise! The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!’

“‘His top priority with these trips is not the business of the American people, it’s the business of the Trump Organization,’ said Jordan Libowitz of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. ‘The American presidency has become another tool to advertise his golf properties.’”

That advertisement “cost taxpayers at least $3 million beyond what they would have spent if Trump had simply stayed in London, according to HuffPost’s analysis.”

Always on the grift, Trump announced at August’s G-7 summit, via Daily Kos, that, “his financially troubled Doral resort near Miami is ‘perfect’ for next year’s G-7 meeting.”

This would have provided “a multi-million-dollar windfall into a club whose revenues have fallen by 69% in the last two years.”

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of our Constitution extends the ban on extra emoluments “from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The business of America was never meant to be conducted to enrich elected officials and their families. It’s right there in the Constitution for all to read.

So, after public pressure forced Trump to cancel this scam, our “very stable genius” with “great and unmatched wisdom,” ranted against “you people with this phony Emoluments Clause.”

The emoluments clauses are very real. Not phony. And – no surprise – our liar-in-chief adds another one to his 14,000 or so by reneging on his oath of office “to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

And those conservative, strict-constructionist Republicans in Congress whose words, silence or evasions defend Trump’s indefensible grifting also swore to “support and defend” the Constitution and not, as in the case of many senators-and-future-impeachment-jurors, line up to see what bribes they can get for officially endorsing this breach of the Constitution.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.