Donald Trump’s corruption is so brazen and ubiquitous, it’s almost not worth mentioning anymore.
But a new report claiming that Trump openly lobbied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on behalf of casino magnate and top GOP donor Sheldon Adelson is nevertheless alarming. That is, if you’re Pollyannish enough to still believe these kinds of quid pro quos have no place in politics.
According to a new ProPublica report, during a February 2017 meeting with Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Trump asked the prime minister to consider Adelson’s casino company, Las Vegas Sands, for one of the country’s new casino licenses. According to Forbes, Adelson is the 15th richest person in the U.S. with a net worth of $33.7 billion, and he likes to spread that money around (i.e., buy influence):
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were among Trump’s biggest benefactors, writing checks for $20 million in the campaign and pitching in an additional $5 million for the inaugural festivities.
Adelson was in town to see the Japanese prime minister about a much greater sum of money. Japan, after years of acrimonious public debate, has legalized casinos. For more than a decade, Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands, have sought to build a multibillion-dollar casino resort there. He has called expanding to the country, one of the world’s last major untapped markets, the “holy grail.” Nearly every major casino company in the world is competing to secure one of a limited number of licenses to enter a market worth up to $25 billion per year. “This opportunity won’t come along again, potentially ever,” said Kahlil Philander, an academic who studies the industry.
So what did Trump do for Adelson? Well, the guy who said over and over again that he was financing his own campaign so just don’t worry about it, went to bat, big-league, for his prime benefactor:
Adelson had a potent ally in his quest: the new president of the United States. Following the business breakfast, Abe had a meeting with Trump before boarding Air Force One for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago. … During a meeting at Mar-a-Lago that weekend, Trump raised Adelson’s casino bid to Abe, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The Japanese side was surprised.
“It was totally brought up out of the blue,” according to one of the people briefed on the exchange. “They were a little incredulous that he would be so brazen.” After Trump told Abe he should strongly consider Las Vegas Sands for a license, “Abe didn’t really respond, and said thank you for the information,” this person said.
They were incredulous? Really? Have they met this guy? I’m just surprised he didn’t bring up Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki.
At his core, Donald Trump is a low-level mob thug in a shiny suit, and everyone else in the world is a sap or a mark. Of course he’s leaning on other heads of state in order to line the pockets of the people who bankrolled his rise to power. That’s who he is. And the whole world knows it by now.
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