Media imply without evidence that Trump had a quid pro quo deal with foreign nations who rented rooms in Trump's DC hotel
Just yesterday, it was reported that during the Trump presidency, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, China, and Malaysia spent a combined total of over $700,000 at Trump's hotels in D.C. while they were attempting to influence U.S. foreign policy.
These reports were based on the documents obtained by the Democrat-led House Committee on Oversight and Reform from Trump's former accounting firm, Mazars USA.
The following were some of the key revelations.
Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The former prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, and his delegation spent $259,724 at the hotel during a one-week stay in September 2017, including a $10,000 room and $1,500 "Personal Trainer" and $9,229 for "Coffee Breaks."
This occurred when Razak was lobbying the Trump administration to drop an investigation into a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund he had co-founded.
The Malaysian sovereign wealth fund was under investigation by the Justice Department for embezzling billions in funds and laundering them through American financial institutions to buy exclusive properties in the U.S., a yacht, and fine art by Monet and van Gogh.
What happened to Razak?
The Trump DOJ confiscated and returned hundreds of millions of dollars to the Malaysian people in 2021. Razak was voted out of office in 2018, and in August, a Malaysian court ordered him to begin a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser and Trump ally, also spent more than $5,000 at the hotel during the week the Malaysian delegation stayed there.
What happened to Broidy?
He was convicted of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Malaysia and other countries. Broidy admitted to illegally lobbying Trump and then–attorney general Jeff Sessions to drop the civil forfeiture proceedings against Razak's Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
The Turkish Embassy had booked two stays at the Trump hotel in May 2017. The "American Turkish Council Call In," the main Turkish lobbying group in D.C., spent $65,139 at Trump hotels.
Erdoğan was pushing Trump to have the DOJ drop its investigation into Halkbank, a Turkish bank.
What happened to Halkbank?
Halkbank was charged in October 2019 for evading U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In August 2017, the Embassy of China delegation spent $19,391 at the Trump International Hotel.
What happened to China?
Trump was the only U.S. president to confront China on myriad fronts. In 2018, Trump slapped tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese-made goods. Over the next year, he added duties to more items after Beijing retaliated with tariffs on some American-made products.
The Saudis spent $85,961 during a one-week stay in March 2018, including renting several $10,500 suites.
So what happened with Saudi Arabia?
Trump made the U.S. a leading oil producer, which made the U.S. less dependent on Saudi oil. When Trump struck a deal with Saudi-led OPEC in 2020, it reduced Saudi's influence regarding oil production and pushed his "America first" agenda.
Qatari officials and connected companies spent at least $307,941 at the Trump Hotel from late 2017 through mid-2018.
Clearly, the hotel stays didn't have much impact on foreign policy.
Yet the House Oversight Committee chair, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), accused President Trump of "being guided by his personal financial interest while in office rather than the best interests of the American people."
Now for some facts, which few outlets carried.
President Trump handed over day-to-day control of the D.C. hotel to his sons during his presidency.
In a statement, Eric Trump said the following:
As a company, we went to tremendous lengths to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, not due to any legal requirement, but because of the respect, we have towards the office of the presidency.
We walked away from billions of dollars in new deals, ceased all international expansion, engaged with an outside ethics advisor to review any material transactions, and furthermore, have voluntarily donated all profits from foreign government patronage at our properties back to the United States Treasury on an annual basis.
If profits were his motive, as these findings seem to imply, Trump would never have become president. In fact, he would never have entered politics.
We must not forget that prior to entering politics, Trump was hugely popular, even among some "elites." He attended movie premiers, fashion shows, and award functions. Many of these "elites" lived in his various properties within the U.S. and beyond. They collaborated with Trump in various ventures. They cheered and gave him standing ovations.
However, as Trump ascended the ladder of GOP politics, he became a pariah among the very crowd who once celebrated him. Trump must have lost out on a number of high-value customers owing to his politics. The elites fearing retaliation probably shunned anything that was perceived to be associated with Trump.
Trump was probably the world's first politician to suffer considerable pecuniary loss upon being elected to the highest office in the nation.
Trump fell off the Forbes 400, the annual list of America's richest people, during his presidency. It was the first time in 25 years that Trump wasn't on the list. Trump recently made a comeback into the list upon leaving the White House.
Trump was probably the first president in history to donate all the salaries that he received back to the U.S. government.
Yet the media carried these stories to imply that Trump was enriching himself at the cost of foreign policy.
Documents show six nations spent more than $700,000 at Trump's DC hotel, a rare case of foreign governments spending money with a sitting president https://t.co/uBwERHpec6— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 14, 2022
Records show foreign nations spent hundreds of thousands at Trump's DC hotel https://t.co/tJl5DXb2Qd— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 14, 2022
New report: During Trump's presidency, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, China and Malaysia spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump's D.C. Hotel at the same time they were trying to influence U.S. foreign policy. https://t.co/BZUnoy6mg2— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 14, 2022
Foreign government officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the former Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., throughout Trump's term in office, according to findings released by the House Oversight Committee. https://t.co/hU4eFx6dma— Axios (@axios) November 14, 2022
China, Saudis spent hundreds of thousands at Trump hotel: docs https://t.co/NTWFECnHxY pic.twitter.com/uE29IektaU— New York Post (@nypost) November 14, 2022
The problem is that the media still seem to have credibility and considerable reach. That is probably one of the reasons that the Democrats did well during the midterms despite Biden's catastrophic misgovernance.
The media partnered with the Democrats to push the narrative that democracy is in danger if the GOP wins. They also peddled paranoia that the GOP intended to have women arrested for even mentioning abortion with their doctors.
It truly is unfortunate that a significant number of citizens will never ever be exposed to facts about Trump sacrificing his salary and his net worth dropping during his presidency. They have been indoctrinated with the narrative that Trump is a heartless ogre whose sole focus is self-aggrandizement and profits.
Perhaps brainwashing has penetrated to such depth that some individuals are impervious to inconvenient facts; they will merely dismiss it as right-wing propaganda.
The same group probably will never know of real corruption when Joe Biden used his influence as vice president to enable his son Hunter to enrich himself in Ukraine and China.
They will also never know that during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, a number of individuals, organizations, and countries allegedly contributed to the Clinton Foundation while pursuing interests with the U.S. government.
For a democracy to function properly, the news media and the various House Oversight Committees must function as watchdogs. Alas, the media have devolved into a P.R. wing for the Democrats, and various House Oversight Committees have been politicized by the Democrats. Hence, the group who should be vigilant watchdogs have become slobbering lapdogs of the establishment.
Will matters improve once the GOP takes back the House?
Photo credit: Twitter screen grab.