MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough explained that President Donald Trump has never stepped away from his business interests because making money was the only reason he ran for office in the first place.
The “Morning Joe” host said the intermingling of foreign money — such as Saudi payments to Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C. — and presidential duties were “Blowing a hole in the emoluments clause” in the U.S. Constitution, but also came as no surprise.
“The president of the United States ran for president not thinking he would win, not thinking he would get the Republican nomination, not thinking if he got it he would then become president,” said MSNBC analyst John Heilemann.
Heilemann said the presidential campaign was a “money-making operation,” and Scarborough suggested it was “brand enhancement” — but now Trump and his associates are under criminal investigation.
“The guy spent the previous decade with his friend Michael Cohen running around the world trying to do what he’d done in the United States, which was use the Trump name to make more money,” Heilemann said. “This was a great opportunity to increase not just his profile, but his international profile and to use this as an opportunity after he presumably lost either as the nominee or in the general election.”
Instead, Trump won the GOP nomination and then the White House, where he has used his position to promote his family business.
“He went into the White House thinking, ‘Well, I’m not going to — I got into this for the money, I’m not going to abandon that primary objective,'” Heilemann said. “So he has used the White House in ways that we are now seeing, people have been talking about for a year and a half, he’s using the White House to make money while being president and to try to enhance his opportunities for making money after being the president.”
Scarborough said that’s why Trump was so shocked that he had won the 2016 election.
“There’s a reason why the night Donald Trump got elected he looked like he had been, like, jabbed by a cattle prod,” Scarborough said. “Melania was crying, Mike Pence’s wife was angry, and the scene looked like something more out of a wake than a hotel room. They didn’t expect it — they didn’t want it.”