Since day one of his calamitous administration, Donald Trump has made it painfully clear that he sees the presidency as little more than a tawdry tool to enrich himself, his family, and his closest allies.
The nepotistic elevation of Trump’s buffoonish children and his impressively incompetent son-in-law Jared Kushner to positions of immense power that they have neither the experience nor innate ability to do well demonstrates how little he actually cares about effective governance. From their perches at the very top of American state power, they’re able to push for policies that benefit themselves personally and financially while expanding their business networks all over the world. In short, the foxes are running the henhouse.
Now, The New York Times is reporting on yet another incident of flagrant corruption and this time it comes from the kingpin himself. Robert Wood Johnson IV, the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, revealed to several individuals in 2018 that President Trump pressured him into influencing the British government towards holding the British Open golf tournament at the Trump Turnberry resort located in Scotland.
Johnson’s deputy Lewis A. Lukens warned against heeding the orders because it would be using the State Department’s considerable gravitas to personally enrich the president. The British Open is an immensely profitable event for the establishment which ends up hosting it. As The Times points out, had the British government granted Trump’s request-by-proxy it may have qualified as a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
Johnson, a billionaire who received his ambassadorship as a reward for supporting Trump’s 2016 campaign and introducing him to powerful donors, reportedly ignored Lukens’s warning and tried to accomplish the task for Trump by discussing the idea with David Mundell, the Secretary of State of Scotland. Officially, the British government denies that Ambassador Johnson directly requested the Open be held at the Turnberry.
Lukens was ultimately dismissed by Johnson after informing State Department officials of Trump’s request and Johnson’s reaction to it. The entire undertaking reeks of impropriety and is just the latest example of the manner in which this president has systematically dismantled the United States’ global diplomatic reputation. He can be reliably trusted to always put his own interests above those of the country.
“It is diplomatic malpractice because once you do that, you put yourself in a compromised position,” Norman L. Eisen, the special counsel for ethics under President Obama, told The Times. “They can always say, ‘Remember that time when you made that suggestion.’ No experienced diplomat would do that.”
By pursuing Trump’s agenda Johnson put whatever credibility he had on the line and severely hampered his own ability to function as an effective diplomat. This sordid saga is just one of many such overt displays of corruption under President Trump and a potent reminder of what is at stake come November.
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