This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: Who says you can't cash in on public office?

The Trump family continues to see its 2016 election success as an opportunity to increase their real estate brand

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 29, 2017 10:30AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

The Trump family, rather than viewing public office as a public service, has instead treated their 2016 election victory as the ultimate business opportunity. That notion keeps popping up again and again.

The Trump real estate empire is targeting red states

One of the inherent contradictions of Donald Trump's political appeal is that he often seems to do best among people who are less likely to use his luxury hotels. If Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have their way, however, this won't be true for much longer. The Trump Organization has already signed more than two dozen letters of intent in Texas and a number of Southern states, with the obvious goal of cashing in on their dad's popularity in those regions.

Trump is turning another one of his golf clubs into his summer getaway

As we've pointed out before, the problem with Trump constantly using his own resorts as personal getaway spots is that his retreating there serves as de facto advertisements for those facilities — a major conflict of interest in its own right. What's more, the time he spends at these locations usually puts taxpayer money in his pocket, from security costs to the occasions when he has major guests (such as President Xi Jinping of China) over.

So far Trump's favorite getaway has been his resort in Mar-a-Lago, but it seems like he wants the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to see some action too. New reports indicate that's where he will be staying over the summer months.

The State Department had a blatant plug for Mar-a-Lago — then removed it

Think I was exaggerating about the president using his trips to Mar-a-Lago as an excuse to plug his resort there? From April 5 until this week, the State Department had a blog post up that actively promoted the president's Mar-a-Lago resort. It has since been taken down due to the controversy that ensued, but while it was up the blog described "the winter White House" as a place that had "become well known as the President frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders."

Trump isn't draining the swamp, he's importing muck

If Trump meant to clean up Washington when he talked about "draining the swamp," then he has failed miserably. How else can you describe having a former campaign manager, a major fundraiser, and your vice president's former chief of staff all proceed with lucrative careers as lobbyists shortly after his election victory?



By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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