Happy Hour News Briefs
Some Q&A from the Xristian Xrazy World Magazine (emphasis mine):
Q: The political left certainly has a lot to answer for, but what about the responsibility of Christian leaders? When Barack Obama made untruthful claims, he received a lot of criticism; but have we seen similar criticism regarding President Trump?
A: I’ve publicly criticized his previous marital infidelity and his vindictiveness at times, and his brash, confrontational behavior at times. I looked at The Washington Post’s list of what it calls 16,000-some “lies” Trump has spoken and examined 20 or 30 of them. They’re what I’d call conclusions drawn by a hostile interpreter of words that a sympathetic listener would understand in a positive way. President Trump is often not careful in some of the things he says. He is given to exaggeration. Sometimes he’s made a statement after being given inaccurate information. I’m not sure he’s ever intentionally affirmed something he knows to be false, which is how I define a lie. As you know, I have written an ethics textbook. I believe it’s never right to affirm X when you believe X is false. If someone wants to point out to me some actual Trump lies that fit that definition, I’d be happy to look at them.
OK let’s help out our Xristian Ethicist, Wayne Grudem, and let’s go now to CREW for their assessment of The Chosen One’s ethics:
“Averaging more than two conflicts of interest per day, President Trump continues to be the most corrupt president in history, engaging in more than 3,400 conflicts of interest since taking office, according to a new report released today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Since CREW issued its last conflicts report in February, President Trump has engaged in an additional 400 conflicts of interest and made millions of dollars for his personal businesses. Today’s report details some of the most glaring examples of presidential corruption and conflicts of interest ever raised by a president, all of which stem from his refusal to divest from his businesses…
“For nearly four years, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that any claim of separation from his business was a lie. The extraordinary numbers in this report paint a picture of a president who is fixated on the personal financial benefits he might derive from his public service—and a whole ecosystem of officials, special interests and governments that exploit that fixation in order to curry favor and advance their own interests,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder…
Trump made this desire public last summer at the G7 summit in France where he publicly advocated for next year’s summit to be held at Trump National Doral. While Trump claimed that the Secret Service preferred Doral to the other contenders, records obtained by CREW later revealed that the Secret Service said no such thing and that Doral was added as a last minute option, meaning that Trump lied in order to manipulate the international event for his own benefit. Trump similarly stated that the Secret Service influenced him to stay at his Las Vegas hotel during a campaign to the West Coast. This claim was later called into question by a records request from CREW.
Here’s some highlights from the report, which may not be direct lies but are still certainly lies from his oath of office, specifically emoluments:
- President Trump has visited his businesses 503 times, and 303 of these visits have been made to golf courses. This year alone he has visited 7 properties 74 times in total. The days that he has spent visiting properties account for a third of his presidency;
- 338 individual executive branch officials have visited Trump properties 885 times. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have visited Trump properties more than any other executive branch officials besides the president — 39 and 36 times, respectively. Following them are Vice President Mike Pence, Former Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin;
- 141 individual Members of Congress have visited Trump properties 344 times. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham tops this list with 27 visits, followed by Sen. Rand Paul, and Reps. Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Kevin McCarthy. The majority of these visits (284) have been to the Trump Hotel in D.C.;
- 145 foreign officials from 75 governments have visited Trump properties. More Turkish officials have visited than representatives of any other country;
- 69 state officials from 34 states have visited Trump properties, including 18 governors. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida tops the list;
- In total, public officials from Congress, the executive branch, and foreign and state governments have made 2,014 visits to Trump properties;
- Conveniently located just blocks away from the White House, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. is the most popular property for federal, state, and foreign government officials to visit. Public officials have visited the property 973 times. Mar-a-Lago is next with 385 visits, followed by Trump National Bedminster with 181 visits, Trump National Golf Club in Virginia with 138, and Trump National Golf Club West Palm Beach with 110 visits from public officials;
- The President has taken many opportunities to use his office for free advertising for his many properties. White House officials including Trump have used their platform to promote Trump businesses 426 times, often in their official capacities. Trump specifically has mentioned his properties in speeches and interviews 338 times;
- Special interest groups, political groups, and foreign governments have held a combined 231 events at Trump properties during Trump’s presidency. Special interests have hosted or sponsored 130 events at Trump properties during Trump’s presidency. Trump administration officials and Republican members of Congress often attend special-interest events at Trump properties, granting these interests invaluable access, often behind closed doors, in exchange for a large payment to President Trump’s businesses. Forty-eight administration officials, including 13 Cabinet members, have attended a special interest event at a Trump property, and 41 members of Congress have gone to one;
- Political groups have hosted 88 events at Trump properties since Trump took office. Whereas prior to his run for president, Trump businesses were never paid more than $100,000 by political groups in a single year, they have taken in millions of dollars in political spending each year since he ran. The president’s businesses have raked in $23.2 million from political groups since Trump announced his run for office in 2015 and $9.7 million since he took office. Political groups have paid $3.2 million to the Trump hotel in Washington, $2 million to the Trump National Doral, and $1.2 million to Mar-a-Lago. The top spenders are Trump’s own campaign, the RNC, and a joint fundraising entity that raises money to those two groups, which, together, have spent more than $20 million. None of these totals include untold amounts spent by dark money groups that generally don’t have to report such spending;
- Though many of Trump’s best customers are his own political groups and those in his immediate orbit, political spending at Trump properties is widespread. More than 200 conservative and Republican political groups have made a payment to one, and more than three dozen of those have paid more than $10,000. These giant payments to the president’s businesses have afforded groups that sponsor events at Trump properties access to high ranking officials. President Trump himself has attended 31 of them, and Vice President Pence has gone to another 15. Eight cabinet officials have attended 22 political events at the president’s properties, and 67 members of Congress have attended one or more;
- Foreign governments or foreign government-linked groups have hosted 13 events at the president’s hotels and resorts during the Trump presidency. These events have brought 67 foreign officials and 20 Trump administration officials to the president’s properties;
- Despite Trump’s promise that there would be a separation between the White House and Trump Organization during his administration, the president has continued to be involved with the Trump Organization. He has apparently retained the power to make decisions for his businesses while in office and has persistently given his paying customers privileged access and information. Meanwhile, the Trump Organization has sought to highlight its proximity to power as a marketing tool;
- While Trump swore against pursuing foreign deals while in office, 67 trademarks have been granted to the Trump Organization from foreign governments. China has granted 46 trademarks to Trump’s company, more than any country.
So Xristian, heal thyself.