The president continues to use his office a a money-making venture.
Word of a mass exodus of charities canceling or moving events away from President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach Mar-a-Largo club shouldn’t faze our Commander In chief too much, as long as the Republican Party continues to dump tons of money into his pockets.
After Trump’s comments about white supremists and the “good people” taking part in a Nazi/KKK rally in Charlottesville, Va., groups including the American Cancer Society, International Red Cross, Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen cancelled or decided to hold planned events at the Palm Beach club. At last count the list of cancellations of major events was 20.
But even as charities continue to run away from the president and his controversial embrace – or at the very least continuing acceptance – of white supremists, Nazis and the KKK, the Republican Party as a whole has not found it objectionable to spend fundraising dollars at Trump properties.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that “At least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance filings. Trump’s companies collected an additional $793,000 from the RNC and the president’s campaign committee, some of which included payments for rent and legal consulting.”
In fact, since Trump became president, many news organizations have documented how dignitaries from other countries, groups and organizations attempting to gain favor have stayed at Trump properties, and the president himself has hosted foreign dignitaries at those properties. (Remember that famous Mar-a-Largo meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where the two leaders carried on some of their discussions over dinner as other guests looked on?)
Never before in our history have we had a president who financially benefitted in this way.
In the case of foreign dignitaries, some could argue that, sure, Trump is getting richer off them and he probably would not change his stand on an issue or a policy just because they stayed there. But then again he might (China?).
In the case of domestic groups or organizations – especially the Republican Party – as long as the individual members in the individual states don’t mind making cash donations directly to Trump’s account, then there probably isn’t a problem there either. But what happens when, say Arizona Republicans hold a convention at a Trump property and half of them support incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake while the rest stand with Trump in supporting someone else?
Wouldn’t it just make more sense to hold the convention at a site not affiliated with anyone in public office? Unless, of course, Trump was giving some sort of huge discount to the Republican Party, his adoptive party, for holding their event there. He is the Great Dealmaker, right? Seems that with all his properties the party could be saving lots of money – money that could be put into political ads fighting Democrats. None of the GOP groups using Trump properties have indicated that they have gotten any special deals though, so it is probably not an issue with rank and file Republicans that the money they are giving to their party is not going to any fight the opposition party but, instead, is going into Trump’s pocket.
So even as charity groups, civic organizations, great causes created to help others and non-profits flee from Trump and his divisive rhetoric (along with CEOs, business leaders and just about everyone else), the president can be assured continued profits at his properties from the GOP faithful.
Perhaps when it comes time for the KKK to plan their annual convention, or when the Nazis are looking for a place for their next rally, they too will consider booking a Trump property. It is interesting that that has not happened yet, but what better way to keep out the rabble-rousing left-wing anti-fascists than by having your demonstration at a gated private clubhouse?
At the end of the day, the groups and organizations cancelling events at Mar-a-Lago are making a statement, and that is good. But while that club, and perhaps some other Trump properties, may experience a small drop in profits as a result, it really isn’t going to hurt them all that much as long as there continues to be a line of dignitaries, groups, organizations and even the Republican Party ready to step in and fill the void, ensuring a constant stream of dollars into Trump’s pockets.
Jim lee is editor for GateHouse Media Delaware. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.