Modern Salon / YouTube Lee Rizzuto Jr Celebrates the 50th...
Modern Salon / YouTube

Leandro Rizzuto Jr., the nominee to be ambassador to Barbados and several other Caribbean countries has a bit of a problem facing him in his Senate confirmation. While a great friend of Trump, he made no friends with any other Republican, having spread vile smears about Trump’s opponents, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the 2016 primaries.

That’s going make his reception in the Senate a little frosty. The latest revelation, from the invaluable David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post, isn’t going to help him much, either. At least, not if Mitch McConnell wants to even pretend to be taking his job seriously.

Two weeks after President Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the gala’s organizer said.

Rizzuto and his wife, Denise, have committed to be “underwriters” for next year’s Trumpettes USA gala at the club in Palm Beach, Fla, according to Toni Holt Kramer, the founder of the Trumpettes.

The Trumpettes are a group of Palm Beach-based socialites and Trump supporters whose galas aren’t intended to raise money for charity—instead, most or all of the money they bring in goes to pay Trump’s club.

Kramer said the Rizzutos had pledged to support the 2019 gala at the “presidential” level—the most expensive kind of sponsorship. The less-expensive kinds are “vice presidential” and “five-star general.”

Exactly how much had Rizzuto pledged? Kramer wouldn’t divulge that to Fahrenthold, but did say that the “presidential” level of support generally comes it at “upwards of probably $15,000 or $20,000 or $25,000.” But of course Rizzuto didn’t make this pledge as a thank you, or god forbid, a bribe to the guy who is giving him a very cushy job in a fabulous location. No, not at all. “They’re not doing it because they want to be in good graces with the president. They’re doing it because they want this country to run right,” Kramer says.

Uh, huh.

The hearings haven’t been scheduled yet, and according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, Rizzuto hasn’t completed his required paperwork. At this point, if someone in the Republican leadership doesn’t go to Trump and tell him to withdraw this nominee, we’ll know that McConnell and team are just as corrupt as the president they’re propping up.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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