Back in 1954, at the height of the infamous anticommunist witch hunt, a lawyer representing the Army in the televised Army-McCarthy hearings brought Sen. Joseph McCarthy down with one outraged question: “Have you no sense of decency?”
The announcement (last week) that President Donald Trump has decided to hold next year’s G7 Summit at his own Doral resort in south Florida suggests that it’s time to ask Trump that same question — except that we already know the answer.
Trump has no sense of decency, no sense of ethics, no understanding of the Constitution and definitely no shame.
How, otherwise, could the president inject this outrageous decision to boost his own business and personal brand into the mess he’s already in?
It’s not as if things are going swimmingly at the White House.
The impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives is gathering steam. It was further fueled by chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission in front of news cameras, not long after he announced the Doral decision, that yes, Trump did freeze nearly $400 million in aid partly to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. “Get over it,” Mulvaney said.
And even many congressional Republicans are blasting Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds in Syria and give in to the Turkish president.
Into this mess, in defiance of all precedents, all propriety and, oh yes, the emoluments clause of the Constitution, Trump dropped the news that he is planning to have the leaders of foreign nations gather at his resort, spending millions of dollars and giving his brand a big boost.
Mulvaney actually said that the decision was reached after a nationwide search that concluded the Doral resort was far and away the best possible place for this meeting of world leaders. That’s even though it’s well known that the Doral has been struggling financially for the last couple of years and has a history of health code violations. Then, too, such summits are usually held at more remote locations, for security reasons.
Mulvaney’s claim would be hilarious if it weren’t so typical of this administration and Trump’s obvious contempt for propriety, not to mention the Constitution.
Trump has already been blasted for using the presidency to steer business to his widespread business ventures. Unlike other presidents, he has refused to put his business holdings into a blind trust. Trust me, he said. My businesses won’t profit from my position.
Then he proceeded to host world leaders at his properties and send administration officials out of their way to stay at Trump resorts when overseas. Foreign and domestic business and political leaders who want to curry favor stream into the Trump DC Hotel.
Outraged critics rightly point out that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which says U.S. leaders cannot benefit from business or gifts from foreign leaders without congressional approval.
But Trump does what he wants because, so far, he’s gotten away with it. He must believe he was elected king, not president, and that laws don’t apply to him.
Awarding the G7 to his Doral property is his most outrageous affront along these lines yet, demonstrating that the turnover in his administration has meant the exit of all who dared tell him when he was out of line.
The president of the United States is supposed to keep his personal business out of the country’s business. But this president doesn’t care.