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Mulvaney is a ‘repeat customer’ in Trumpworld — and knows the president’s grift better than anyone: Columnist

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After a national outcry over the blatant conflict of interest and warnings from Republican senators that they were reaching their limit of what they could defend, President Donald Trump backed off his plan to host next year’s G-7 summit at the Trump National Doral golf resort.

But as Zach Everson noted in The Daily Beast, this was only one incident in a vast tapestry of apparent grifting and profiteering by the president at his own properties.

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“Spoiler alert: President Trump never did build that wall he promised. You know, the one between his administration and his business,” wrote Everson. “Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney flat-out … [told] Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that the president ‘was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.'”

“Despite a pledge two years ago to venture elsewhere, the steakhouse in his hotel remains the only D.C. restaurant he’s been known to eat at while in office. His frequent area golf games almost always are played at his Sterling, Virginia course. He vacations at Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago,” wrote Everson. “By The New York Times’ count, he’s called on one of his properties, visiting 13 different of them in all, on 308 of his 1,002 days in office. And he’s repeatedly plugged his businesses—and their patrons—to his millions of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Furthermore, he continued, “In December of 2017, The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff had the scoop that the Trump Hotel D.C.’s director of revenue management claimed he’d briefed the president on banquet revenues, demographics, and whether ‘his presidency hurt the business.’ Last month, The New York Times reported that current and former White House officials said Trump ‘remains intimately involved with club minutiae, like knowing all the names on his Mar-a-Lago membership roll.’ And Sunday morning, Politico quoted a former White House staffer recounting that Trump ‘talks up his properties every chance he gets with anyone—with staff, with members of Congress, with the press, with the public, with foreign leaders, with anyone.'”

“So nearly three years into Trump’s presidency, it’s no surprise that at least 27 of 53 GOP Senators—more than half—have been seen at the Trump Hotel D.C. or spent campaign funds there,” continued Everson. “Or that 25 of the 33 officials to have served in Trump’s cabinet have been spotted there, as have officials from 29 different foreign governments. If the G7 were held at Doral, it would’ve been the sixth different Trump property Japan’s prime minister had visited since their owner’s election. (While reports indicated some foreign leaders were dismayed about the choice of Doral, it seems safe to assume Shinzo Abe wasn’t one of them: he’s probably just a night or two at a Trump property shy of a free stay in an Ivanka suite.)”

“While Trump had said he wouldn’t be profiting off the G7 at Doral (whatever that would have meant), don’t discount his ability to still squeeze a few dollars, euros, pounds, yen, and loonies out of the summit, wherever it’s held,” wrote Everson. “Camp David, after all, is just an 80-minute drive from both his D.C. hotel and golf course.”

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“As for Mulvaney, when he inevitably tries to walk back his latest bit of refreshing candor, keep in mind that he’s well versed on the president’s hospitality business,” concluded Everson. “After all, Mulvaney’s not just Trump’s acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, he’s also a repeat Trump customer.”

You can read more here (subscription required).


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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