Monetizing the Presidency for a last big pay day by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

Donald Trump’s use of lies and deceit to swindle the American people out of an authenticated election, the very cornerstone of our democracy, is just part of the problem. Dozens of legal challenges to the November 3 results have been thrown out of court. Recounts and audits have been implemented, by both Republican and Democratic state officials, with nothing substantive found to alter the outcome. His own Justice and Homeland Security departments have discredited his claims.

He desperately wants to roll back Joe Biden’s 306 electoral votes, the same number Trump received in 2016, which Trump characterized as a “landslide” victory. He wants to make it as difficult as possible for the Biden administration to govern. Most of all, he brazenly wants to use his faux cri de coeur as a cover for yet one more big-ticket scam.

Under the guise of soliciting donations to his “Official Election Defense Fund” for those failing legal strategies, the Grifter-in-Chief is raising money hand over fist – some $200+ million so far – for his new political action committee. Three quarters of that money is expected to go for his own use, as a personal slush fund. The rest is headed for the Republican National Committee.

Trump continues fleecing his donors even after the specific legal challenge has failed. In Michigan, for example, the judge threw out Trump campaign’s lawsuit as “inadmissible hearsay within hearsay,” but the President continued days later to solicit donations for the challenge. Donors to Trump’s legal defense have to read way down into the fine print on the myriad fund-raising pitches to find any reference to the real destination of the money, his newly created PAC.

Trump’s new leadership PAC is called “Save America,” but its purpose is anything but to save our democracy. Donald Trump is never about America; he is focused only on himself. His acolytes may believe they can contribute to overturning the election. Many, if not most, are sufficiently intoxicated with the authoritarian leader that they’d brush aside the duplicity and, hopeful for a 2024 Trump return to the White House, shrug it off……whatever. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-former President can use those recently raised funds for salaries for himself, his family and staff, his travel expenses, endless supplies of Big Macs and KFC chicken, and for rallies – allegedly to support other candidates but really to keep himself and Trumpism amped up to generate new revenue streams for himself.

The self-dealing doesn’t end with money collected. According to Forbes Magazine, from 2017 through 2019, Trump businesses (which he theoretically had turned over to his children) earned $1.9 billion. That record is detailed in Dan Alexander’s book White House, Inc, – how Donald Trump Turned the Presidency into a Business.

While millions of Americans have lost their jobs, face evictions and are challenged by food insecurity, Trump has countenanced shameful misuse of relief funds and failed to act in a timely way to provide needed support. Meanwhile, he is gaming the system, wantonly indulging in conflicts of interest and self-dealing behaviors along with his family members and close associates. The millions spent by foreign dignitaries and lobbyists at D. C.’s Trump International Hotel, the monies pulled in by other Trump properties and golf courses from people trying to curry favor with the President, the million dollars paid to Trump hotels for lodging and feeding Secret Service details when the President is away from the White House, similar amounts paid when Trump family members were on the road, the loans and special considerations provided to Don, Jr, Eric, Ivanka and Jared Kushner by entities with business before the federal government, – all attest to a pattern of self-enrichment that bespeaks conflict of interest to the point of crime.

Donald Trump promised in the run-up to the 2016 election that he would drain the swamp. His base believed him. Instead, he has simply restocked the swamp with his own cronies and conflict-ridden family members. He sits on top of the rotting heap, the lord of the cesspool, raking in the dollars, wallowing in the slime, not even pretending to care about ethics or honesty, a cancer on our democracy that threatens to metastasize and debilitate the body politic for generations to come.