Interesting conflicts of interest

Corruption in politics doesn’t always mean you’re lining your own pockets. Then again, we have no idea who if anyone, is getting wealthier off the Trump White House, at least no idea of who in the Administration may be because Trump hasn’t released his taxes, despite promising to.

In many ways, the facts speak for themselves, though. We have seen where this President easily takes after any real or perceived enemies he faces with a no-holds barred approach.

  • Most recently, the President is on the attack against Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon and, separately, The Washington Post, whose reporting on this Administration has brought back that paper’s most glorious news-breaking days. In the last week Trump has, clearly intentionally, reduced the value of the company via his comments that affect the stock market and clearly is inciting his followers with his allegations of “fake” news against the Post. That’s one example of his viciousness against his “enemies” that also carries financial consequences for his target. By the way, you’d be hard-pressed to find among Trump’s predecessors a President who didn’t watch his tongue for fear of affecting the markets.
  • Take a look at Sinclair Broadcasting’s recent effort at putting its real fake news on its member stations newscasts by sending a script it ordered its news anchors to read. That script attacked fake news, clearly doing the bidding of this President. By the way, Sinclair owns 173 stations around the country. And, the company is awaiting federal approval (read that approval from Trump’s Justice Department) on a deal that would allow Sinclair to pay $3.9 billion for a buyout of Tribune Media, which would add 42 stations to Sinclair’s holdings. That’s about 70 percent of all the country’s TV households. In anti-trust terms, that’s a lot. Everyone knows the quickest route to Trump’s heart, and approval, is showering him with compliments or taking up his side in a fight.
  • Then you have Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Ms Linton is an actress. At the moment she reportedly is working on new scenes for a movie she made five or six years ago but was never released. Now, with the notoriety she has earned as Mnuchin’s wife and her high-living style which has attracted major attention in DC and elsewhere, she is working on those updates, which are being funded by an unidentified investor. By the way, her husband is known, before his Treasury days as a movie investor. I can add one and one, boys and girls, can you?
  • And, of course, there’s Trump’s style of accepting credit for good things and running away from the bad. Examples? The “kids” that benefited from DACA which allowed them to stay in this country if brought in as juveniles by their parents. The Congress has yet to pass a fix for that. The need for a fix came about because President Obama issued an executive order that protected the 700,000 covered by DACA. Trump, when he took office, rescinded that executive order which meant those 700,000 would be deported. He eventually professed his “love” for those 700,000 and promised to work out a fix so they could remain here. Democrats at one point even agreed to fund his silly border wall with Mexico (yes, that one Trump promised Mexico would pay for) in return for protecting the DACA people. Trump walked away from that deal, which it seemed to me, he was the beneficiary of, and now blames the Democrats, who hold a strong minority in each house of Congress, for not passing a fix. I’m inclined to react by saying WTF? But I’m still trying to figure out how Trump thinks he gets away with his blame statements when he’s to blame.
  • How about the stock market? Last year when the market kept hitting all-time highs Trump was pumping his chest taking credit for the incredibly constant rise. This year, with the market backing down, he is silent. By the way, a fact as reported by CNBC’s John Harwood: “Rise in Dow Jones Industrial Average from presidential inauguration to first market day of April the following year: -Obama: 37%, -Trump: 19%”
  • Then, there are Trump’s Cabinet choices who range from Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss’ inability to put two coherent thoughts together in a “60 Minutes” interview (not to mention that she admitted not visting at-risk schools) to Housing Secretary Ben Carson ordering a $31,000 dining room set for his office and, when caught, blamed his wife for the decision. Then there’s EPA head Scott Pruitt who flies first-est class everywhere because, he says, he needs the protection of that first-class blue curtain to keep away the riff-raff who threaten him. Apparently because those bodyguards who travel with him can’t be trusted to keep a flaming tree-hugger away from their protectee. Oh, and there’s that sweetheart $50 a night deal he has for a Capitol Hill room in a swanky condo building. Yes, that condo that’s owned by someone who lobbies the EPA. But, of course that lobbyist would never expect any repayment in kind from the EPA director, now would she? Hmmmm. These “titans of industry” who Trump has named to his Cabinet, including more than a few billionaires, I guess have never heard the phrase “avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest” while in office. They can’t identify an appearance or a conflict because they never had to before. Is that a defense against the small “c” crimes they commit against the taxpayer every day?

But I fear I’m out of space. So, can’t get into things like, can there possibly be insider trading going on when the President rips an American publicly traded company to drive their share price down? Hmmm…could there be? That, Mr. President, is just a “fact” that “some” people are spreading, much like your Tweet this morning which accused CNN of only hiring anti-Trump reporters.

Oh, and remember Trump taking credit for that “every day another record high for the stock market” phenomenon last year? Trump believes that if you’re President while such things happen, you deserve the credit. Of course, last year he accomplished little policy wise so I’m not sure what he thought he did to boost the markets other than just his marvelous existence.

This year, the market so far is another story, gyrating because of his professed desire to start a trade war because “they’ are so easy to win,” he says, and by attacking publicly traded American companies as they lose billions on paper value a day.

Oh, and there is also his being out-charmed internationally by, get this, not only Vladimir Putin but by that personality challenged Kim Jong-Un, the dictator of North Korea. Read that sentence again: The President of the United States demonstrates far less charm internationally than Vladimir Putin OR Kim Jong-un, two men who kill their own citizens and control the ballot box so no free election can be held.

Trump invited Putin to a summit in the White House — that KGB murderer/attacker of U.S. elections invited to meet IN the White House by the President of the United States. Wait, he may offer him a night in the Lincoln Bedroom or, more likely, give him a tour of the Situation Room! Wouldn’t that be a grand way to demonstrate how well he can get along with Putin?

But that’s another story.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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