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May 21, 2018 | by  | in Arts |
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Trump’s America: Eating the Entire Cake Store and Running it Too

On 10 May the Chinese Government signed a deal that granted $500 million in loans to the “MNC Lido City” project. The prospective theme park resort just outside of Jakarta is to be licensed to the Trump Organization, featuring Trump branded hotels and a golf course. President Trump is set to be enriched personally by this deal, through both $3.7 million in licensing and consulting fees, and the “additional unspecified incentives” alluded to in the deal. Just 72 hours after the deal was made, President Trump tweeted ordering a bailout for cellphone manufacturer ZTE — a company owned by the Chinese Government and recently crippled by sanctions enforced by the Trump administration.

Trump tweeted on 14 May “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”. Trump’s own Commerce Department had originally banned the export of American technology to ZTE, believing the company to be violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran set by Trump himself. The ban was to be imposed for seven years and ZTE was looking at shutting down; Trump’s tweet came just a month later.
Prior to his inauguration, Donald Trump vowed that he would not pursue any new foreign business deals while in office. After winning the 2016 election, Trump gave the control of his real estate business to his two eldest sons, but did not divest himself financially from the Trump Organization. As well as breaking that personal promise, the President is also in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits a sitting President from receiving any profit via salary or gift from a foreign government. Board Chair of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Norm Eisen tweeted on 15 May “This is a violation of the Emoluments Clause. A big one. See you in court Mr. Trump”. CREW has previously sued Trump over ethics violations, citing numerous violations of the Emoluments Clause with foreign diplomats regularly patronizing Trump hotels and restaurants.

The White House was questioned on why the President was attempting to relieve a Chinese Government-owned company from his own trade policies, if this decision was related at all to the half a billion dollar boost the Trump organization has just received from the Chinese Government, and how the Emoluments Clause was remotely being adhered to. Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah declined answering any questions on the matter, telling members of the press “I’ll have to refer you to the Trump Organization”.

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