The second night of the Republican National Convention was much like the first, but instead of Covid-19 denials and lies, anyone who was paying attention could see Trump’s corruption throughout the night. The lies and alternative realty were still there, but the Trump swamp took center-stage where he almost seemed proud of it.
Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, denounced the supposed corruption of the Biden family. While he was still Vice-President, Biden helped his son Hunter land a job working for a Ukrainian gas company when he had no experience in the energy sector. Bringing up this little factoid was a little odd given it was this transgression that led to Trump’s impeachment hearings at the end of 2019.
The same Pam Bondi also reminded us, that as attorney general of Florida, she decided not to join the state of New York in a lawsuit against an affiliate of Trump University. Why? Because Trump donated $25,000 through his charity to a PAC supporting Bondi’s re-election. Trump was later fined a mere $2500 by the IRS for violating federal tax laws.
If the American people needed a reminder of Trump’s corruption, they really didn’t have to look too hard. There was so much more where that came from. Eric Trump, Mike Pompeo and Daddy Don himself all weighed in.
Earlier in the day, the New York state attorney general asked a judge to force Eric Trump to respond to subpoenas about whether his dad’s organization committed fraud by inflating its assets to get loans and tax breaks. So far, Eric has refused to obey seven subpoenas on the subject.
Back in 2016, the fiction at the time was that Donald Trump would not divest from the Trump Organization, but instead would turn full control over to his sons Don Jr. and Eric. Trump’s lawyer at the time had said he was “committed to ensuring that the activities of the Trump Organization are beyond reproach and cannot be perceived to be exploitive of the office of the presidency.”
Now, as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, Eric was speaking at the Republican National Convention proving once again that there was no such distinction between the organization and the White House. In reality there never was.
According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, at least 12 foreign governments made payments to Trump Organization properties during Trump’s first two years in office. Let’s also not forget all the trips to Trump Properties over the past few years.
Trump now appears to be coercing federal employees to work on his campaign. A violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities while on government property. Staging parts of your convention from the White House will do that.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the RNC from Jerusalem, where he taped his remarks while on a foreign tour. Another possible violation of the Hatch Act, for which Pompeo is now under investigation.
State Department officials had pre-emptively claimed that Pompeo, who is America’s chief diplomat, would be speaking in a personal capacity, and therefore would not be breaking the law. “What the hell does that mean?” said a former Trump administration official in an interview with the HuffPost. “What personal capacity does a secretary of state have outside of, say, the bathroom?”
Added to the RNC festivities were a presidential pardon, and a presidential naturalization ceremony, both carried out on live television. It was impossible to see the line between his presidency and his 2020 presidential campaign.
From the very beginning, whether it’s asking foreign governments to help him with his political opponents or trying to organize major international summits on his resorts, the president has used his office as a campaign scheme and to turn a profit all at once. The evidence of Trump’s corruption has been out there for all to see, but last night, it was proudly in the spotlight.