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Monday, February 13, 2017

Gaslighting the corruption

by digby

Look at this:
U.S. President Donald Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are expected to visit Dubai this week to open a Trump-branded golf complex.

Trump’s sons will be the guests of honor for the opening of the Trump International Golf Club Dubai on Feb. 18, according to an invitation sent to guests by Dubai-listed developer DAMAC Properties.

DAMAC and real-estate mogul Trump announced in 2013 it would build the complex in its $6-billion, 28-million-square-foot ‘Akoya by DAMAC’ development. DAMAC pays a licensing fee to the Trump Organization to use the Trump brand.

Last month, then-President-elect Trump said he turned down a $2-billion deal offered by DAMAC Chairman Hussain Sajwani because he did not want to “take advantage”. DAMAC later confirmed the offer.

Trump has been criticized for not distancing himself enough from his family business, the Trump Organization, since he was elected president in November.

The New York Times ran a huge front page story today about the boys quest to make zillions to make their president daddy proud:

Back home in the United States, they are planning to open a new boutique hotel chain, Scion, in perhaps 30 cities.

With the aggressive push forward, though, comes the persistent thrum of ethical qualm.

Just last week, news that Eric had traveled to the Dominican Republic to restart a stalled project there prompted controversy, given the Trump Organization’s pledge of no new overseas deals. The Washington Post reported that when Eric visited Uruguay on business in January, the trip cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 in hotel bills for the required Secret Service agents and for embassy staff members. Also echoing through the office at Trump Tower was the dust-up over the decision by Nordstrom and several other retailers to stop selling their sister Ivanka’s clothing line.

Don Jr. called that “disgusting,” and both brothers said their father was right to take Nordstrom and other retailers to task publicly in Ivanka’s defense.

“He’s Papa Bear,” Eric said.

Despite pressure to do so, President Trump has not sold any of his assets, which include a stake in a half-dozen office buildings, more than a dozen golf courses and at least 15 hotels that the company owns or manages. Instead, he has signed over control of day-to-day operations of his privately held company to the two sons and Allen Weisselberg, a trusted lieutenant at the Trump Organization, with an agreement not to discuss company business.

The arrangement and the president’s decision to not release his taxes have brought widespread criticism from liberal groups and even the federal government’s top ethics watchdog, Walter M. Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics. President Trump has continued to frequent his commercial properties, including over the weekend in Florida, bringing them global media attention and potential new customers.

But the brothers say they are convinced that they and their father have taken sufficient steps to create a management structure that will allow them to avoid creating the kind of appearance of conflict of interest that plagued Hillary Clinton as secretary of state while her husband continued to operate the Clinton Foundation. The measures they have taken, they say, have included explicit instructions to their domestic and international business partners not to reach out to anyone in the United States government for help.

Oh,ok. As long as they have given explicit instructions to the staff it's all good. And they certainly won't say anything to their daddy because they crossed their hearts and hoped to die.

What is it like — after a lifetime as the sons of Donald Trump, and now business executives in their own right, and even co-stars in a reality television show — to be the sons of the president of the United States?

“It’s bigger, it’s bigger,” Eric said, struggling for the right word, then turning to a superlative, a habit inherited from his father. “This is really the biggest thing in the world.”

You have to read the whole thing to get the full flavor of the brothers' weirdly confident delusion that what they're saying is normal.

I cannot get over the fact that this is ok. It's mind-boggling and not just because they ran a campaign against "crooked Hillary" who was ripped to shreds for giving speeches and having a family charity. It's as if they are determined to make us feel as if we've lost our minds.

But it appears they're going to get away this because Donald Trump and his band of extremist weirdos are incompetent in every way that their epic corruption and self-dealing is a secondary story.