Trump’s presidency has gotten off to a rocky start, by anyone’s estimations. It has been mired by a whirlwind of Russia-related news as new revelations continue to surface seemingly every day.
But even if you lived in a Trump world where Russia didn’t exist – where Trump didn’t fire the FBI Director, and where Don Jr didn’t meet a Russian lawyer and former soviet spy for dirt on a political opponent. Even if that world ignored that two key Trump surrogates, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort had to retroactively register as foreign agents, and even if you ignore Donald Trump saying that he wouldn’t have hired his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, had he know he would recuse himself from the Russia probe – even if you ignore all of that, Trump still has had a remarkable number of administration scandals.
Here, we dive into them.
Trump is receiving money from foreign governments
A now-infamous clause in the Constitution called the Emoluments Caluse states that the President cannot “without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
This seems fairly cut and dry, Trump should not be allowed to profit from foreign states essentially giving him money. But this is what is happening as Trump refuses to divest from any of his businesses, his hotels all over the world receive money from overseas holdings constantly.
Even the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., is now a popular destination for foreign diplomats. A week after the November election, about 100 foreign officials were invited to an event at the property, during which they toured the building and sipped champagne.
Trump promised to donate all the profits from this to the US Treasury, but has not in fact done this. A Trump Organization pamphlet published in May said that “putting forth a policy that asks all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.” So much for identifying those representing foreign governments.
During the 2016 campaign, 15 women came forward claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Trump, going on the record to accuse him of groping them in offices, planes, hotels, even tennis and golf tournaments.
In response, Trump rejected all claims, and suggested that none of the women were attractive enough to merit his attention anyway. However, now a lawsuit has been brought against Trump suing him for defamation after his malicious response that resulted in “threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage.”
In March Trump claimed that as President he should have immunity from this lawsuit as it would serve only to “distract a president from his public duties to the detriment of not only the president and his office but also the Nation.”
Kellyanne Conway endorses Ivanka’s clothing line
In February, Nordstrom announced it would stop selling Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. Donald took to Twitter to defend his daughter, but later that week presidential aide Kellyanne Conway delivered a ringing endorsement of the brand herself from the White House briefing room, urging Americans, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
This is a clear violation. Executive branch employees cannot use public office for private gain, or endorse any product for the private gain of friends. Although this clear violation occurred, no disciplinary action was taken.
White House promotes Melania’s jewelry line
On the First Lady’s official bio on the White House website was included a blatant endorsement of her products: “Melania is also a successful entrepreneur,” the bio read. “In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, ‘Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,’ on QVC.”
The White House quickly removed the QVC plug from the website after public backlash.
The “Winter White House” doubles its rates
Mar-a-Lago – the place where Trump travels to get away from the stresses of 1600 Penn has now become a gateway for others to get closer to the president. Since Trump spends so much time there, the guests are willing to pay for the privilege.
Since the inauguration, the club has doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 with not only foreign dignitaries staying there, but wealthy Americans hoping to get close to the President.
Ethics watchdogs are of course uncomfortable with such an arrangement, aside from how incredibly expensive it is to transport a president, his aides and security detail down to Palm Beach (or, more recently, his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey) weekend after weekend.
Security officials are also wary as Trump has been known to conduct sensitive business with foreign dignitaries on the terrace, in open view of Mar-a-Lago guests, able to enter the property without a background check.
The Trump campaign pays Trump’s own businesses
In February, Federal Election Commission reports revealed that Trump’s campaign paid $12.8 million to his own companies over the course of the 2016 election.
These millions went through Trump’s airline company TAG Air, for campaign trips; Trump Tower, for rent and utilities; Trump Restaurants; Trump Ice, for beverages and office supplies; Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, his golf clubs; and his son’s Charlottesville vineyard, for rent, catering and lodging.