Donald Trump does not know the Florida spa founder who attended his Super Bowl party, has visited Mar-a-Lago and even reportedly the White House, and has been selling access to U.S. lawmakers, the White House claimed Tuesday. “The President doesn’t know this woman,” a White House spokesman told Mother Jones.
Apparently we need to define “know.” It’s not hard to believe that Donald Trump doesn’t consider Cindy Yang one of his good friends. (Of whom there are only like three, anyway.) And certainly politicians get their pictures taken with lots of people they meet at fundraisers. But Yang hasn’t just been in a room with Trump on multiple occasions—she was close enough to him at his Super Bowl party to get a selfie with him. At that point, he doesn’t need to “know” her for her to be able to sell access. He doesn’t need to “know” her for there to be questions about how someone with ties to the Chinese government and a history of owning questionable massage parlors is in a position to be taking informal selfies and peddling access.
Yang no longer owns the massage parlors at the center of a prostitution and sex trafficking investigation, preferring instead to do the aforementioned access-peddling, but her family continues to own some massage parlors rumored to involve sex work.