Isn’t it funny how throughout Trump’s 2016 campaign, China was demonized as a rapidly growing country that steals jobs from hardworking Americans and rips us off in trade deals, yet flash forward to today and it’s a completely different tune?
If you don’t know what I’m referring to, then you need not look any further than Trump’s tweet that raised eyebrows with his plug to Chinese telecom firm, ZTE. The sudden corporate shilling seemed to come out of nowhere, and strangely the president who ran on a platform built around “creating jobs” for Americans was now concerned with saving Chinese jobs.
In other words, what was once a campaign platform to create American jobs has now turned into a platform to save Chinese jobs. That in itself sounds crazy enough, however, what I’m afraid Trump doesn’t realize is that the company he’s promoting here is the same company that was hit with sanctions last month when it was caught secretly breaking sanctions imposed on Iran and North Korea.
Yeah, that and the fact that American intelligence agencies previously identified it as a security risk. Oh, and never mind the fact the Pentagon also banned phones manufactured by ZTE from retail outlets on U.S. military bases out of concern that they could be used by the Chinese government to spy.
As bad as that sounds, it unfortunately gets even worse for Trump. According to the South East China Morning Post, a development project to build a theme park in Indonesia, with financial connections to Trump including hotels, housing, shopping, and a golf course with Trump branding, has been selected by China to be part of their “Belt and Road” infrastructure, meaning it will receive an injection of $500 million in funding directly from the Chinese government.
According to Richard Painter, the chief ethics official for the George W. Bush administration, this is a huge no-no as Trump’s Indonesian project is a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which is designed to prevent the bribery of elected officials.
And Painter isn’t the only expert chiming in, either, as Norm Eisen, the chief ethics official for the Obama administration has taken to Twitter to make the same accusation.
Without saying much, both experts have said a lot. And Eisen’s last sentence reads more as a promise than as a threat. At this point, it seems as if Trump’s court date is no longer a matter of “if,” but “when.”