It was with great alarm, surprise, astonishment, shock, bewilderment that I came upon this news item from the AM Joy show on MSNBC streaming on YouTube Saturday morning. I herewith and without shame, mortification, regret, remorse, apology regurgitate the segment almost in its entirety. Following are screen shots, some rendered into classless memes, from the video. I have, from time to time, amateurishly added my comments to what is readily a transparent narrative. To wit, President Donald Trump came into office with his ill-conceived business operations hurting. Since early on in 2017 it has been obvious to all who will see that Mr. Trump is using the office of President of the United States to make his fortunes well again. To the extent possible, I might add. Here is how it’s done on two fronts.
First, the United States government is backed by the wealth of the American taxpayer, and to the extent he can, the President is guiding that wealth into the coffers of his various companies. Second, there is wealth to be had in the treasuries of foreign governments and in the treasuries of various businesses and individuals seeking favor from the United States government, and Mr. Trump is finding ways to direct some of that wealth into his own enterprises. Start with the wealth of the government treasury.
Yes, members of the United States armed services, traveling on official business, are paying to use Donald Trump facilities, specifically the Tumberry golf resort in Scotland.
Air Force crew, in their flight uniforms, found themselves ill at ease among the well-heeled patrons at this upscale watering hole. One wrote home about it.
Military personnel and other government employees are payed a per diem to cover expenses when they must live and eat while on government business. These military personnel were not directed to a military base, where they would have dined with other troops. Instead they drew per diem and leveraged it toward their expenses at the resort, way above what the government stipend would cover.
That’s right. Donald Trump enterprises include a golf resort at Tumberry near Glasgow in Scotland, and prior to Donald Trump’s presidency the resort was losing money. It lost $4.5 in 2017. Now the United States Air Force is using the resort to house service members stopping over in Scotland to refuel on their way to and from flights to Europe and beyond. Democratic members of Congress are interested in knowing why the Air Force is using public money to enrich their commander-in-chief.
To date, there has been no response from the Department of Defense, which reports solely to the President.
Vice President Mike Pence attended a conference in Dublin, Ireland, on government business. While in Ireland, he stayed at a Trump resort near the western shore of the island nation. Dublin is on the eastern coast, over 180 miles away.
The Vice President explained it this way. Paraphrasing: The need to accommodate the unique footprint of our security detail made it logical.
President Trump attended the G7 (formerly the G8) conference in France last month, and at the conclusion he heavily pitched hosting next year’s meeting at his resort in Loral, Florida. Obviously, attending countries would pay for staying at the Trump property, pumping additional wealth into President Trump’s personal equity.
I have no idea whether the other G7 members are required to follow the President’s recommendation, but any who resist can never be sure whether that will affect their standing with the United States government.
The story continues. Remember this?
Since becoming President Donald Trump has made 213 visits to his own properties.
98 of these visits were to play golf.
Full disclosure: when the President makes a trip like this for personal business, the government does not pay his expenses. If the trip requires travel on Air Force One, the President is charged a first class ticket. He has to pay the government out of his own pocket. Government employees making the trip ride for free, and that would include his security detail.
However, the President’s security detail incurs expenses at these Trump resorts, and the government picks up the tab, paying Trump enterprises out of the public treasury. Same for other government employees making the trip. As of recently total was $109 million to Trump out of the Treasury.
Then there is the matter of Attorney General William Barr.
Truth be known, on first examination I was saying, “What’s the big deal. It’s Barr’s own money, he can do what he wants with it.” Then it dawned on me. This is not a private party. It’s a department party, and the government is picking up the tab. It’s money from the Treasury to Donald Trump.
Not surprising there are impeachment rumblings, none coming from Donald Trump’s on party. So far the movement includes 134 Democrats and one Independent.
What a difference an election day can make. Would that we could have more of these. Here is what else is going on. From Politico we learn the House Judiciary panel is preparing a definition for an impeachment probe.
So, how unusual is it for American military aircraft to stop at a private resort rather than at a military base? Apparently it has recently become not so unusual. Since October 2017 it has become a lot more common for military airplanes to land at Prestwick airport about 30 miles from Trump’s Scottish resort.
Whoa! I previously served on active duty, and my experience at the time was each command, each unit, each small department, had a budget. You wanted to fly a plane, you had a budget to purchase fuel. You needed to repair a radio, you had to purchase spare parts out of your division budget.
So what do we have now? A general officer, maybe a colonel, has a command involving flying transport planes to Europe, Asia, and back. Then one day he looks at his allotment and decides he can afford to pay more for a load of jet fuel, and he can afford to put his crews up in a swanky resort instead of in a barracks at a base or even at a Holiday Inn Express nearby. Not likely. Commanding officers get graded on how efficiently they use their allotment. Some extravagances are considered part of building command morale, but going beyond a few such expenditures will require authorization from higher up. Does this come all the way down from the Commander-in-Chief? And if so, are there recommendation as to where to heap the largess? Inquiring minds want to know.
Prestwick airport is closest to any other serving the area. The airport was also losing money, and the Scottish government purchased it for essentially a dollar and has been looking for a buyer.
The Prestwick airport is essential to the health of Trump;s Tumberry property, being the closest landing spot for travelers. In any event, the airport has been getting healthy off the increased American military traffic coming through. They have made $11 million selling fuel to the American military, and this is fuel that could have been purchased cheaper at a military base. Additionally Donald Trump’s resort is prospering by having taxpayers shell out cash so military crews can stay at his resort. Keep in mind, this is a golf resort. Crew members might need to remember to bring their clubs.
What the big hullabaloo is all about is the two emoluments clauses in the Constitution. Here they are, the foreign part and the domestic part.
The Foreign Emoluments Clause (art. I, § 9, cl. 8):
“[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under
[the United States], shall, without the Consent of the
Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or
Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or
The Domestic Emoluments Clause (a.k.a. the
Presidential Emoluments Clause) (art. II, § 1, cl. 7):
“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.”
These parts are in the Constitution to prohibit a likely source of corruption within, and it is apparent the current president is tromping all over both of them. Foreign governments are paying to stay at his Washington hotel, which building he ironically rents from the United States government, and American taxpayers are shelling out to Trump properties every time the President or a government official patronizes one of them. This is the classic definition of “feeding at the government trough.”
To say I am shocked, dismayed, distressed, outraged, indignant, scandalized by all these goings on would be incorrect, wrong, misconstrued, fantasized, illusionary. To the contrary, I am delighted, overjoyed, enthralled, thrilled, even happy at these goings on. Since my retirement from the workforce my greatest enjoyment in life has been to deconstruct absurdities in modern day life, and this president’s actions bring much joy, delight, gaiety, merriment, thrill, even happiness to my otherwise dull existence.
And with that my thesaurus is exhausted, bankrupted, drained, even depleted, and we are now getting the government we paid for.