Trump Hotel Panama / Flickr Trump Hotel Panama Pool Deck...
Trump Hotel Panama / Flickr

At this position far, far down the slide toward the land of serfs and autarchs, it’s almost amusing to remember that there was a time, called 11 months ago, when the idea of something known as “the emoluments clause” was taken semi-seriously. Not seriously enough that a president enriching himself by charging the Secret Service for hotel rooms, apartment rental, meals, and golf carts ever disturbed an improbable strand of “hair.” Certainly not seriously enough that Donald Trump had to produce his taxes to show that he wasn’t scooping up hundreds of millions from overseas oligarchs. But seriously enough that the The Trump Organization issued an agreement to not engage in new foreign projects. It even dropped some of its less attractive projects in India and Argentina.

But those were, of course, more innocent times.

A construction company owned in part by the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Korea plans to build a Trump-branded luxury resort development in Indonesia despite a vow from Donald Trump that his family business would not make any deals with foreign government entities while he serves as president.

Two foreign governments agreeing to build a resort on property owned by a third, all the while shipping a fee directly to the 100 percent Donald Trump-owned Trump Organization, may seem like a conflict. But then, who is looking? That concern was Gish-galloped past almost as soon as it appeared.

This Trump International Hotel and Tower Lido project is the latest example of a slew of potential conflicts of interest Trump faces as he serves as president while continuing to own his vast real estate empire. McClatchy reported in September that a major construction company owned by the Chinese government was awarded a $32-million contract to build a six-lane road as part of the residential piece of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project.

But it’s not as if Trump is doing anything that affects policies in Saudi Arabia. Or China. Or South Korea. Or Indonesia. So why shouldn’t those governments line his pockets?

It’s not like people in the region aren’t already thrilled by Trump’s special relationship with the Saudis

The problem with Daffy Duck, if you recall, is how, with his very limited mental means and compromised moral imagination, he is always trying to cover up his natural cowardice with vainglorious misadventures. …

The same is with the two rich daddy’s boys – Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman – who are now so intertwined we get their names mixed up as they are committing war crimes in Yemen, throwing the Palestinian cause under the bus, reforming Islam Israeli-style, causing mayhem in Lebanon, and hope to begin bombing Iran and to invade with the last American soldier their petrodollars and AIPAC lobby can buy.

Or that Trump’s chocolate cake diplomacy with Xi hasn’t made China a solid ally.

Satellite imagery of China’s Jiangnan Shipyard near Shanghai showed China’s continuing moves to boost its naval fleet—with the production of additional Yuyi-class air-cushioned landing craft—or hovercraft. …

So what is motivating China’s bid to accelerate strengthening its navy? One Beijing-based Asian diplomat told Reuters in February that President Donald Trump’s unpredictability was one factor.

Or that Trump has an idea of … anything about Indonesia.

The Lumangkuns are among about 2,000 ethnic Chinese Indonesian Christians who fled to New Hampshire to escape rioting in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy that killed about 1,000 people in 1998 at the height of Asia’s financial crisis.

They are also among tens of thousands of illegal immigrants in the United States now facing possible deportation after the Trump administration moved to reopen cases of people who, like the Lumangkuns, had been given a reprieve under past administrations.

So it’s not possible that millions of dollars flowing from any of these sources directly to Trump could affect his policies.

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


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