Two days after intense pressure forced President Donald Trump to back down from his plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his resort in Doral, Florida, the president dismissed the Constitution’s anti-corruption clause—which his plan would have violated—as “phony.”
“You people, with this phony Emoluments Clause,” Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on Monday, responding to allegations that hosting the meeting of foreign leaders at his own property would be a conflict of interest.
Trump claimed that President Barack Obama also violated the Emoluments Clause by signing a book deal and an agreement with Netflix while he was in office—two falsehoods that CNN promptly corrected—and compared himself to President George Washington, who Trump said was also a “businessman” while in office.
Trump just claimed his G-7/Doral pick was OK because Obama got a Netflix & book deal. He claimed these were negotiated while in office.
There's no proof, and CNN fact-checked in real time.
He then went on to claim the Emoluments clause is "phony." CNN put it on the screen. pic.twitter.com/lq8ifvlqRy
— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 21, 2019
Since Trump took office in 2017, ethics watchdogs have decried his refusal to divest from his real estate empire, the Trump Organization, which his two eldest sons are now running. The president maintains access to the company’s financial data.
Meanwhile, a number of state and foreign officials have stayed at Trump’s properties since he’s been in office, which critics say is a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause. The clause bars any president from accepting payments from any state or foreign government.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), whose lawsuit against the president over the Emoluments Clause was reopened last month by a federal appeals court, was among the critics of Trump’s dismissal of constitutional law.
“The emoluments clauses, which the president just called ‘phony,’ are of course the original anti-corruption provisions the framers put into the Constitution centuries ago,” CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder tweeted.
The emoluments clauses, which the President just called "phony," are of course the original anti-corruption provisions the framers put into the constitution centuries ago to prevent exactly the kinds of corruption we are seeing on a daily basis under this president. https://t.co/DpBgl1VguJ
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) October 21, 2019
Trump has also been sued by 200 congressional Democrats and the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C. over alleged emoluments violations. Both cases are slowly moving through federal appeals courts, but no action has been taken by Democrats yet to stop the president from profiting off his position.
“It would be cool if the courts and/or opposition party proved that the Emoluments Clause is not, in fact, phony,” tweeted journalist Talia Lavin on Monday.
On Saturday, after Trump canceled his plan to hold the G7 at Doral, CREW pointed out that his bow to pressure did not cancel out his many other ethical breaches.
“The president’s reversal shows that pressure works, that those fighting to hold the line for an ethical government can still sometimes dial down his corruption,” said Bookbinder. “The president deserves no plaudits for doing the right thing only after public outcry forced him not to do the wrong thing. This was one corrupt conflict of interest. He’s racked up well over 2,000 of them. So we’ll keep fighting.”
Internet buries Betsy DeVos for ‘total trainwreck’ CNN interview: ‘Why is she in charge of ANYTHING?’
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both stunned and appalled Twitter commentators on Sunday morning after she spent nearly 24 minutes sparring with CNN host Dana Bash over reopening the schools during a pandemic while misrepresenting the health risks to children that led the "State of the Union" to fact-check her.
With Bash closing the contentious interview by smirking at another non-answer from the Trump administration official, Twitter commenters flooded the social media platform with comments over what one called a "total trainwreck" cable news appearance.
You can see a few below:
Trump melts down over media reporting he’s playing golf: ‘I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done’
Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning complaining about the media reporting on the massive amount of time he spends on the golf course, tweeting that he plays "VERY fast" and he gets "a lot of work done on the golf course."
According to the president, "I know many in business and politics that work out endlessly, in some cases to a point of exhaustion. It is their number one passion in life, but nobody complains. My 'exercise' is playing, almost never during the week, a quick round of golf. Obama played more and much longer rounds, no problem. When I play, Fake News CNN, and others, park themselves anywhere they can to get a picture, then scream 'President Trump is playing golf.' Actually, I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done on the golf course, and also get a 'tiny' bit of exercise. Not bad!"
Trump fears his base will turn on him if he flips and calls for nationwide mask guidelines: CNN
On CNN Saturday, analyst Ron Brownstein outlined the key reason President Donald Trump is struggling to adapt his message to proper public health guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.
"Ron, there is a retail trade group that has asked President Trump to institute federal, nationwide mask guidelines at stores across the country as the country continues to re-open," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "Experts are saying that masks could save thousands of lives in the coming months. Do you see a scenario in which — any chance in which he would issue that?"
"I think the short answer is no, and for a revealing reason," said Brownstein. "He is in a trap of his own construction. On coronavirus, we talk all the time about how President Trump's base is bonded to him, immovably. He's also bonded to the base in the other direction, that he is very reluctant to get out crosswise with a base that includes the kind of people that showed up at the Michigan capital to protest lockdown without wearing masks and waving Confederate flags and carrying automatic weapons."