MSNBC’s Ali Velshi showed why the Trumps made a big mistake by talking about people monetizing their government positions by breaking down how much cash the president and his family are raking in from being in the White House.
For fact sake, just how much is the trump family bringing in while in a position of public service? Let’s start with the Trump properties. The president retains a stake in all of his companies, so just because he’s not directly running these properties, it doesn’t mean that he’s not actually profiting from them. Trump has spent 174 days at a Trump-owned residence since taking office and staying at his properties isn’t like George W. Bush staying at his Texas ranch. It costs the taxpayers a lot of money. The Secret Service has to pay for its agents’ room and board at Trump properties at market rate. USA Today reports the Secret Service also spent more than $137,000 just to rent those golf carts to protect the president at his Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster properties. When the president visited his Scotland resort ahead of the Putin summit in Helsinki, taxpayers picked up the $77,000 tab. Understand the distinction here. That’s money that is going to a commercial enterprise that benefits the president. This is not like George W. Bush at his ranch or someone else.
Back at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s club doubled its membership fee to $200,000 after Trump was elected while the D.C. Hotel raised its rates by 60%. It’s not just Trump hotels though, Earlier this year, the government of Qatar bought a $6.5 million apartment in Trump World Tower where Saudi Arabia, India, Kuwait, and Afghanistan already keep residences. The Trump Tower on 5th avenue, China’s largest state-owned bank rents a $2 million a year space for its biggest office in America.
And on sale at Shenandoah National Parks Vistors Center is Trump wine. The vineyard is in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump who both took positions in the white house, brought in between $82 and $222 million last year according to their financial disclosures. Ivanka pulled in nearly $4 million just from her stake in the trump international hotel in Washington. A large portion of Jared’s money came from his family’s ownership of apartment complex in New Jersey and Maryland. And Ivanka’s more than $5 million of profits in her clothing brand got a nice little boost from Kellyanne Conway when during an interview from the White House briefing room she told Fox News viewers to, quote, buy Ivanka’s stuff.
The Trumps can’t be compared to any other previous First Family, because the taxpayer money is going into their pockets. Trump can’t be compared to Bush or Obama, because those presidents didn’t profit off of their travel. When George W. Bush went to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, he didn’t charge the Secret Service to stay there. The Trump family has not only monetized the presidential platform but are also using the presidency for direct personal profit.
If Democrats take back all or part of Congress, they have already signaled that they will be coming after Trump’s profiteering off of the presidency. There is already legislation written that would forbid the government from spending a dime at Trump properties. When Trump used monetization as an excuse to take away security clearances, he opened a can of worms, and if he pushes it, he is definitely not going to like the results.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association