Thursday, April 20, 2017

Family Interests Over National Interests? No Problem.

In a rural county in western New York State which voted heavily for Donald Trump

"He's about action," said Clark, who didn't vote for Trump but said he would do so if he could vote again now. "I believe he's doing pretty much everything he promised to do."

That's what Keith and Bobbi Muhlenbeck think, too.

"We love him," said Keith Muhlenbeck, 46. "We support him in everything he's doing. He's a businessman who knows how to get things done, and you can tell he has America's best interests at heart."

Muhlenbeck is right, you know. He's right as long as "America's" is replaced with "the extended Trump family's."

After Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan  pushed through a referendum likely to tighten substantially his grip on power, Mother Jones' Ashley Dejean noted

..... Trump's business ties to Turkey create a conflict of interest. That's according to Trump himself. As Mother Jones reported in November, Trump mentioned his Turkey-related conflicts in 2015 during a conversation with Steve Bannon, who was then the executive chairman of Breitbart News. (Bannon would go on to become Trump's chief strategist.)

On Bannon's radio show, Breitbart News Daily, Trump said on December 1, 2015, "I have a little conflict of interest 'cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It's a tremendously successful job. It's called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it's two."

Trump was speaking truthfully. He had a vested interest in smooth relations with Ankara. And he owed Erdogan a solid. In 2012, Erdogan presided over the opening ceremony for the Trump Towers. (At the time, Erdogan was prime minister—a role the recently passed referendum would eliminate).

After President Trump issued travel ban 1.0, Snopes explained

The order suspends entry into the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. But critics have argued that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were not included, even though a report from the Cato Institute showed that the three countries were the point of origin for people responsible for 94.1 percent of American deaths due to terrorist attacks in the U.S. Eighteen of the 19 people responsible for the 11 September 2001 attacks also hailed from those three countries.

Not only is he subjecting foreign policy to a test of how it affects his business interests, the fellow who accused mainland China of currency manipulation and of a "rape" of  the USA now is singing a different tune about the behemoth.   After the President acknowledged the USA's "one China" policy, the Trump Organization was granted preliminary approval for 38 new trademarks.

While Xi Jingping pong ball was dining with Ivanka Trump and her husband at Mar-a-Lago, Mrs. Trump/Kushner was given preliminary approval for three new trademarks in China, allowing her to hawk her line of handbags, wallets and blouses there.

As John Oliver would say, "and now this:"

U.S. President Donald Trump's comments about the Korean peninsula and its historical relationship to China has sparked a diplomatic storm in Seoul.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, Trump said, "Korea actually used to be a part of China."

The president was referring to the peninsula as a whole and what he had learned about Northeast Asia from Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Quartz.

"[Xi] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you're talking about thousands of years...and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China," Trump said.

A Seoul foreign ministry official who spoke anonymously to local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo said the remark was "not even worth considering."

"It is a clear historical fact Korea was not a part of China for thousands of years," the official said. "Nobody can deny that."

"He's doing everything he promised to do," says one fan and "he has America's best interests at heart" says another, both no doubt channeling the thoughts of many Trump supporters.   Naive though the remarks are, they do go a long way to confirm one of Trump's few accurate statements of the past 22 months: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters."

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