White House economic adviser: People don’t care about Trump corruption
(CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)
When asked in an interview hosted by NPR’s Steve Inskeep on May 29 about the seemingly clear case of Donald Trump and his family profiting from doing the business of the country, Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, was both a little perturbed and short with his answer.
I think it’s unfortunate when anybody takes the discussion in that direction,” Navarro said. “I think the American people would rather focus on how to stop China from taking the seed corn of our future prosperity, so that’s what I’m focused on. Can we stay on that, sir?
A little unfortunate? Maybe, but put that aside for the moment. I do agree with Navarro that it is important to focus on getting the best terms when negotiating trade deals with all the countries America does business with around the world. China needs to be held to a standard that benefits all parties as much as feasibly possible. We have a trade deficit with China, and it truly is a bad deal for the United States. It should be a priority to level the playing field where everyone prospers, and in the case of China, stops them for the irksome practice of stealing intellectual property from their trading partners.
Getting back to the “a little unfortunate” allusion, it is mind boggling how Trump sycophants sidestep questions about obvious greed-fueled corruption in the way these people do business. The article covering the NPR interview by Aaron Rupar of Thinkprogress.org goes on to examine the controversy of the Chinese company ZTE that was hit with severe penalties for doing business with Iran and North Korea contrary to America’s sanctions on those countries.
When a Chinese state-owned construction company invested $500 million in a Trump- branded property in Indonesia, the Orange One suddenly became concerned with the high unemployment that the penalties on ZTE would create for the Chinese economy. In a bizarre turn the other cheek moment, Trump found it in his heart to forgive ZTE, despite a warning from one of his own newly installed cabinet members and the military that ZTE was a national security threat, but wait, it gets better.
Tied into the mix is Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Shortly, before Trump found it in his heart to forgive ZTE their transgressions, Ivanka secured seven trademark deals from the Chinese government that will undoubtedly line her pockets for years to come. She had already been awarded three trademarks after dining with the Chinese president last year. All toll, the young Ms. Trump has received 34 trademark deals since her dad took office. Now, maybe, just maybe, Ivanka is a skilled business woman and made these deals on her own. While she has supposedly put her business dealings on hold, it seems a little odd that the Chinese government is singling her out of all the businesses in the world to heap these golden eggs on her without regard to her father’s vaunted position in Chinese and America’s relationship.
But I digress . . .
My issue is with Navarro and his dismissal of concerns that the Trump clan is not acting on the up and up despite the appearance of something underhanded going on in the Trump administration. He may believe people really don’t care what the president does in his private businesses dealings, or as Rupar put it,
Navarro did not try and reassure people that Trump is actually acting in the national interest. Instead, he suggested that the question itself is offensive, and argued that people have more important things to worry about.
When I read that comment the first time, I actually gasped, and I am normally not a gasper. The sheer audacity of someone in Navarro’s position trying to turn the table on the American people and imply it is “offensive” to question, not just the Trumps, but any public official dealing in corrupt acts is anathema to all that is right and holy in this country.
Is this the new reality in America today where a cabal of rich white people are above the law? The list is endless from Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, an oxymoronic title under Pruitt’s watch, to Ryan Zinke at the Department of Interior, to Tom Price at Health and Human Services (fired), to Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development, to Steven Mnuchin at Treasury (think solar eclipse escapade), to Mike Mulvaney director of Office and Budget (he’s the one who told lobbyists to pay to play), and on and on. These people don’t even reflect the worst of the worst (Okay maybe Pruitt does), but this leaves out Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross who have their own ethical challenges.
People don’t care about Trump’s corruption? I think they do. The only real issue of import to the American people, our democracy, and the integrity of the United States depends on driving these criminals out of office at the first chance the voting booths offers. What is offensive is that a member of the president’s entourage would have the balls to say something this offensive in public and think it was okay.