It took one week. Within one week of becoming the nation's president-elect, Trump's newest hotel was already advertising itself as a way for foreign diplomats to curry favor with the newest president.
The event for the diplomatic community, held one week after the election, was in the Lincoln Library, a junior ballroom with 16-foot ceilings and velvet drapes that is also available for rent.
Some attendees won raffle prizes — among them overnight stays at other Trump properties around the world — allowing them to become better acquainted with the business holdings of the new commander in chief. [...]
Guests at the Trump hotel have begun parking themselves in the lobby, ordering expensive cocktails, hoping to see one of the Trump family members or the latest Cabinet pick. One foreign official hoped Trump, famous for the personal interest he takes in his businesses, might check the guest logs himself.
He might, of course. Nobody sincerely believes Donald Trump to be so principled a man that he would be above checking which diplomats were or were not lining his pockets before deciding whether to meet with them—or what favors America might do for them. On the contrary, the interviewed diplomats seem to be quite clear on what advantages staying at Trump's self-named hotel might bring them. When you meet with the next president you can either mention to him that you are staying in one of his own hotels, or you can not. Guess which one he will find most pleasing.
There is a bit of a legal problem here, in that a president accepting gifts from foreign diplomats is explicitly barred in the Constitution itself, and it doesn't take a great deal of deduction to presume that diplomats staying in hotel that funnels cash to Trump's own pockets counts as a gift. It's still a gift if the company is run by the president's daughter. The press and Republican party usually works itself into an orgy of reprobation and over even the optics of such a thing. There would be hearings. There would be Fox News specials. Both Sean Hannity and the New York Times front page would both be shouting in all-caps about something like that—during other times, or if the news touched seemingly any other candidate but this one.
So Donald Trump will walk into the Oval Office having already committed an apparently impeachable offense. He also settled a case this week accusing his so-called "University" of being nothing but a massive scheme to defraud consumers, is meeting with foreign dignitaries alongside the very family members he supposedly will be handing “blind trust” business concerns over to, and is pausing his own preparations to become the next president to close still more foreign business deals as president-elect.
(Oh, and he wants to keep his current unsecured phone as president. Which also seems like it ought to be a scandal for recent news-related reasons we can't quite place our fingers on.)
Mind you, short of simply baking the president a cake with hundred dollar bills inside, foreign dignitaries putting cash money into Donald Trump's own corporate bank accounts for the explicit purpose of currying favor with him as president seems like just about the most transparent case of corruption in office one could plausibly imagine. It's so beyond the pale of whatever Trump accused other candidates of, with his Crooked Hillary or Lyin' Ted or take-your-pick that it seems the stuff of a cartoon.
Crooked Don is already setting up the very real, very public avenues through which he will be bribed. And he's essentially daring the government to do something about it; the only thing we know for sure is that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of his now deeply crooked party will defend that crookery at every turn. What <i>principled Republican</i> exists that would dare complain?
So far, the political media that spent every election twist and turn obsessing about "emails" doesn't have much to say about Trump seemingly violating the Constitution itself. It was not mused-over on the Sunday shows; the headlines continue to be subdued. But they will act as check against Trump's misuse of power, they insist. Anytime now. They're just getting a drink of water first, then look out.