Add to the list of sketchy characters Donald Trump has been agreeable to meeting with -- and then posing for a picture -- reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has come into possession of a photo of the former president clad in golfing attire and his traditional "Make America Great Again" red hat posing with Merlino -- but no one in both of their camps seems to want to answer questions about it.
The photo can be seen here, with the Inquirer reporting that it was taken at Trump International Golf Club West Palm.
According to the Guardian, Merlino is a Trump supporter who previously served a major part of a 14-year sentence for racketeering, and in 2018 was sentenced to two more years for running an illegal gambling operation.
The Guardian report added that, after his latest conviction, he approved of the former president's comments about insiders becoming informants, telling reporters, "President Trump was right. They need to outlaw the flippers.”
As for the recent Trump picture, the Inquirer reported, "The photo, obtained by The Inquirer, is likely to renew concerns among Trump loyalists eager to help him retake the White House next year that he still lacks the sort of protective political infrastructure that would prevent a candidate for president from taking a picture with a convicted mobster whose last stint in federal prison ended in mid-2020."
The former president recently created a firestorm when he sat down to dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and virulent anti-Semite Kanye West that roiled the start-up of his 2024 presidential bid.
The report added, "Merlino did not respond to requests for comment," about the picture.