by Peter Castagno, Citizen Truth
January 6, 2020
President Trump visited one of his golf clubs for the 258th time since his inauguration on Sunday amid fallout from his decision to assassinate Iran's top general late Thursday. Trump's taxpayer-funded golf trip came as 3,500 American troops headed to the Middle East while Iraqi Parliament ordered the expulsion of all U.S. soldiers from Iraq and Iran ended all commitments under the 2015 Nuclear Deal to limit the enrichment of uranium.
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) found that Sunday marked not only Trump's 258th visit to one of his golf courses during his presidency, but also his 434th visit to one of his businesses at taxpayer expense. Critics argue that the president is illegally using his office to enrich himself and are concerned about the ability of special interests to buy influence by staying at his hotels and resorts.
“No other president has retained ownership of a massive global business while serving, so this president’s self-enrichment and conflicts of interest represent a unique and unprecedented affront to the democracy,” said CREW’s executive director Noah Bookbinder.
According to CREW, 119 members of Congress and 129 foreign officials have visited a Trump business during his presidency, 110 events have been held at Trump properties by special interest groups, and 65 foreign trademarks have been granted to his businesses. CREW has recorded 630 visits to Trump properties from at least 250 Trump administration officials.
The president has promoted his businesses 246 times while in office, and the Secret Service has spent at least $540,000 following Trump in golf carts at the president's resorts.
"The corrupt relationship between the Trump Organization and the White House leaves the American public in the dark about whether presidential decisions and policy are being made in the best interest of the country or in the best interest of the president's own bottom line," said Bookbinder.
As the New Yorker's Adam Davidson explained, "a remarkable number of Trump's business partners met one or more of the warning signs of troubling business practices: they had been investigated or convicted of fraud or other economic crimes; they were government officials in a position to abuse their power for financial gain; or they were secretive entities, hidden behind shell companies."
In an example of the serious conflicts-of-interest presented by the Trump Organization, the Trump administration neglected to sanction "an Iranian firm with ties to both the Revolutionary Guard and to one of the Trump Organization’s business partners," despite placing sanctions on businesses linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2017, Davidson reported. The Trump Organization admitted that their Azerbaijani business partner was likely laundering money for the IRGC in 2015, but kept working with them after the 2016 election.
In September, more than 30 Senate Democrats proposed a law to ban the spending of taxpayer funds at properties owned by President Trump.
“Since President Trump took office, the American people have witnessed an unprecedented arrangement that has funneled taxpayer dollars into the President’s pockets,” said Sen. Gary Peters, who led the legislation and is the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Similarly, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden asked the White House to provide the names of Trump's golf partners, after a USA Today report found at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials among the 4,500 private members of Trump's resorts. Wyden's letter said the USA Today report "raised the possibility that members of the president's private clubs could receive special access to the president not available to private citizens."
Trump was a frequent critic of President Obama's golf outings during his presidency. The former president played an estimated 333 rounds of golf during his time at the White House.
In 2011 and 2012, Trump also accused Obama of attempting to start a war with Iran to secure reelection:
SOURCE: Peter Castagno
VIA: CITIZEN TRUTH