Imagine George Washington selling time shares at Mount Vernon. Or Thomas Jefferson making Monticello an upscale bed-and-breakfast.
Now imagine Donald Trump using his presidency to cash in on his home away from Washington.
Oh, wait. He is, having turned his Florida get-away pad-slash-exclusive country club, Mar-a-Lago, into Even-More-a-Lago, by doubling the $100,000 membership fee.
That’s just one of the abuses that Trump obscures through a barrage of Alternative Facts and bogus bills like the American Health Care Act to distract us from the reality that we’re being ripped off while he gets richer each day.
Tradition has it that American presidents don’t profit from their terms in office — at least, not while they’re in office. But, as he has done so often with pesky rules and such, Trump is flaunting that time-honored tradition.
And the Trump clan is doing at least as well as the patriarch. David Graham provides the facts and figures in the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine.
Business is really good if you happen to be a member of the Trump family. Ivanka Trump merchandise swelled 207 percent in February from the prior month. “The stars have all aligned,” Eric Trump, who is Donald Trump’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization in charge of golf properties, “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.” One goal of a Trump presidency is to bolster the Trump family’s bottom line…clearly the president is perfectly comfortable mixing public service and private profit.
Just an added bit of perspective:
It was America’s fifth president, James Monroe, who most vividly exemplified the financial model for public service. Having been called to Washington in 1794, Monroe spent the next 30 years in service to his country — as Ambassador to France and England, and as the U.S. Secretary of State, prior to his two terms as President. By the time he returned home, in 1825, financial troubles (no doubt worsened by his absence) had forced Monroe to sell his modest Virginia farm, just a stone’s-throw from the grandiose grounds of Jefferson’s Monticello.
Now we have Donald Trump in the White House. Can you imagine the early morning tweet about what a loser Monroe was? As the great social commentator and comedian, Mort Sahl, once put it. “What do we learn from this? Darwin was wrong.”