If you think Donald Trump is running his presidency like a twisted reality show for the wealthiest members of his private clubs, here’s more evidence for your anecdotal arsenal.
Politico recently obtained a leaked audio tape of a cocktail and dinner reception Trump held last November at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, in which he offered paying members access to interviews Trump and his future presidential entourage were conducting of potential Cabinet members.
Referring to members of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster as “the special people,” Trump announced his official agenda like an activities roster on a cruise ship, saying, “Tomorrow we’re here and Sunday we’re here. We’re going to be interviewing everybody—treasury, we’re going to be interviewing secretary of state—we have everybody coming in…And I don’t know if you want to come around, but if you want it’s going to be unbelievable, it’s going to be an unbelievable day. So you might want to come along,” Politico reported.
Opening up his administration’s decision-making process to his own super-wealthy business clients while preparing to take over the presidency of the most powerful country in the world certainly raises eyebrows and more than a few ethical questions.
But it is even more egregious in light of his activities last weekend during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, FL. During that visit, North Korea sparked a national security incident by firing off a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.
For President Trump, the launch meant an impromptu huddle with aides—in full view of the uber-wealthy patrons in attendance at the club, to say nothing, presumably, of the foreign workers staffing the dinner that night.
One patron, Richard DeAgazio, live-blogged the entire incident—including posting close-up photos of the two world leaders and their staff—on Facebook for the entire world, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to see.
After the two leaders—who according to CNN were “swarmed with paying members”—wrapped up the crisis-response operation, they crashed a wedding underway at the club’s Grand Ballroom, with Trump grabbing the mic to brag about how much money the wedding couple had given him.
CNN described the scene:
Entering the ornate room, Trump took a photo with the bride and her bridesmaids, who posed in red gowns next to the commander in chief, mimicking his signature thumbs-up.
Then he grabbed a microphone.
‘I saw them out on the lawn today,’ Trump said of the bride and groom, who were standing nearby. ‘I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’
‘They’ve been members of this club for a long time,’ Trump said of the newlyweds. ‘They’ve paid me a fortune.’
Trump returned this weekend to his Florida resort, which he now refers to as the “Southern White House.”
No word yet on whether the wealthy guests of his ongoing presidential reality show will be invited to Mosul for a little war-watching sun and fun should the president follow through on his threats to “destroy” the Islamic State.