June 28, 2017
Conflicts of Interest and Gilded Age Excess; Attendees at Trump’s Fundraiser Aren’t There for the Food
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: Public Citizen is helping to organize a protest of a fundraiser President Donald Trump is holding at his Washington, D.C., hotel tonight. Invitees are asked to pay $35,000-per-plate; for $100,000, donors can be on the host committee.
Tonight’s Trump fundraiser has it all: conflicts of interest, self-enrichment, pay-to-play politics and shameful Gilded Age self-congratulation as the administration pushes a health care repeal that would deny coverage to at least 20 million Americans.
Americans have a right to expect the president to focus on serving their interests rather than devising schemes to pocket money from his campaigning and running a long-form product placement advertisement.
That the product placement this evening is for a hotel the president leases from the government, in evident violation of the plain terms of the government’s contract, makes the whole thing still more noxious.
But the self-enrichment is actually the least of tonight’s offenses.
Tonight’s fundraiser is pay-to-play politics, pure and simple. The attendees, giving so early in the president’s term, at a hotel with his name emblazoned in front, aren’t there just for the food. They expect – and will obtain – access and favors in return. Many already have.
This gaudy and garish showcase of Gilded Age wealth, against the backdrop of the Trump-McConnell cruel and senseless effort to throw more than 20 million Americans off of health care and cut taxes on corporations and the superrich by hundreds of billions of dollars, would have made the old Robber Barons blush. It is an offense to the most basic notions of decency.