Patterico's Pontifications


Paging Steve Kerr: A Look Inside A Xinjiang ‘Reeducation’ Camp

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]


Twenty prisoners live in one small room. They are handcuffed, their heads shaved, every move is monitored by ceiling cameras. A bucket in the corner of the room is their toilet. The daily routine begins at 6 A.M. They are learning Chinese, memorizing propaganda songs and confessing to invented sins. They range in age from teenagers to elderly. Their meals are meager: cloudy soup and a slice of bread.

Torture – metal nails, fingernails pulled out, electric shocks – takes place in the “black room.” Punishment is a constant. The prisoners are forced to take pills and get injections. It’s for disease prevention, the staff tell them, but in reality they are the human subjects of medical experiments. Many of the inmates suffer from cognitive decline. Some of the men become sterile. Women are routinely raped.

Such is life in China’s reeducation camps, as reported in rare testimony provided by Sayragul Sauytbay (pronounced: Say-ra-gul Saut-bay, as in “bye”), a teacher who escaped from China and was granted asylum in Sweden. Few prisoners have succeeded in getting out of the camps and telling their story. Sauytbay’s testimony is even more extraordinary, because during her incarceration she was compelled to be a teacher in the camp. China wants to market its camps to the world as places of educational programs and vocational retraining, but Sauytbay is one of the few people who can offer credible, firsthand testimony about what really goes on in the camps.

I hope Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr reads this. Remember, he was asked by reporters during the NBA kerfuffle with China, whether he’s ever been questioned about human rights abuses during his previous trips to China. He said:

“It has not come up in terms of people asking about it, people discussing it,” he said. “Nor has our record of human rights abuses come up, either. Things that our country needs to look at and resolve. That hasn’t come up either. None of us are perfect. We all have different issues we have to get to. Saying that is my right as an American. It doesn’t mean that I hate my country. It means I want to address the issue. But people in China didn’t ask me about, you know, people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall. I wasn’t asked that question.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Kyle Smith Takes Down New York Socialists

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:43 am

[guest post by JVW]

I found this Kyle Smith column at NRO to be hilarious. The setting is a rally in the New York City borough of Queens for Presidential candidate Bernard Sanders this past weekend, a short distance from the aging Marxist’s birthplace in Brooklyn. I’ll let Mr. Smith describe it in his own words:

You would think the Bernie Sanders campaign would make sure to hold its biggest rallies on a weekday, given the amount of propping up he needs. Hunched over from the shoulders, he didn’t just grab the lectern on Saturday — he clutched it, relied on it, looking like Mr. Burns leaning over his walker. (It’s a good thing he’s a politician; in what other profession do they invariably put a large stand in front of you to help you keep your balance?) Sanders came on stage to the strains of AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” which was meant to make Sanders sound exciting and indomitable; in fact the song was written as a tribute to a dead guy (Bon Scott). Oopsie?

Mr. Smith then goes on to describe the Vermont Senator’s boilerplate speech mixing questionable promises such as the panoply of free stuff (college, health care, child care) he pledges to provide along with outright horsepucky that he can’t possibly deliver (“Our program will eliminate homelessness in America!”). And do you think the usual gaggle of leftist idiots manage to make the scene? Why of course they do!

To give some sense of how detached from actual American reality Bernie Sanders sounded, one of his introducers was the beach-ball-shaped remnant of the Beach Boys era Michael Moore, who made multiple references to Franklin Roosevelt as if the 3.7 percent unemployment rate and roughly 50 percent bump in the stock market since Donald Trump was elected mean that it’s 1932 again. “They say Bernie’s too old,” Moore bellowed. “Oh yeah? Well, here’s what’s too old: The electoral college is too old!” Sick burn, Mike. Any bets on which of those two old things lasts longer?

Of course it wouldn’t be a socialist hootenanny without some tiresome local politicians who have, at best, mixed electoral success. Failed Queens Attorney General candidate Tiffany Cabán eases up to the podium and unknowingly makes a compelling case against socialist policies:

Cabán’s parents grew up in a socialist wonderland: New York City public housing. As the Bernie rally was staged right across the street from the largest public-housing project in the Western Hemisphere, the Woodbridge Houses, the attempted messaging was muddled. The New York City Housing Authority, dreamed up by liberals and socialists and run by them more or less continuously ever since, has been so poorly managed by the Che Guevara-quoting mayor of New York City that a judge turned over management of it to . . . the administration of Donald J. Trump. An exemplar to the world, it is not. Just ask Cabán! “My parents,” she said, “grew up in public housing in the Woodside Houses [nearby in Queens]. . . . They grew up with mold, chipping paint, asbestos, crumbling ceilings, nameless serious health risks, and my parents had to live with it. . . . Early on our family learned that government didn’t really care about us.” Do go on about why we need more of it, then.

And then of course our lovable but hopelessly daffy socialist niece shows up to lend her support to her tio abuelo. But she too muddles the message with a personal history of rejecting the government services as delivered in hyper-progressive New York City:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also introduced Sanders and recalled being a bartender in lower Manhattan as recently as last February, is the ideal proletarian face. But she [like Ms. Cabán] is a refugee from New York City public schools, those bastions of left-liberal Democrats and the teachers’ unions that fund them. Her family moved to Westchester to escape Bronx schools, yet she and Sanders proposed to solve the (urban) education crisis by paying teachers more while demanding nothing in return, aka rewarding failure, hence guaranteeing that future Cabáns and Ocasio-Cortezes will also flee urban schools. And then use their education to become activists opposing school choice.

Notwithstanding the endorsement of our exasperating yet endearing niece, Senator Sanders has recently fallen to fourth in the polling for the Iowa Caucuses, with his support in last week’s polls only about half of what it was one year ago. His recent health problems are no doubt causing Democrats to wonder if he has the stamina for what promises to be a grueling campaign, as well as bringing back bad memories of Hillary Clinton’s many absences on the campaign trail and obvious ailments four years ago. No doubt some former Bernie Babes & Bros are taking a fresh look at Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats who are also promising to stick it to capitalism in the name of handing out freebies. And that loss of support for Sen. Sanders leaves him with a problem that he has been dealing with ever since he threw his ushanka into the ring five years ago:

Ocasio-Cortez’s presence did bring up a somewhat delicate topic, though: In a struggling part of one of the most famously diverse corners of the entire country, the crowd was, erm, shall we say, not quite as diverse as it might have been. Bernie’s fans look like they’ve spent more time in punk bands and poetry workshops than in public housing, like they came to socialism after becoming disenchanted with the Future Equestrians of America and majored in Quidditch at Bowdoin College. This is why the lustiest cheer went up when Sanders yelled, “We can cancel all student debt in America with a modest tax on Wall Street speculation!” Woo-hoo! Nothing says, “Uplift the working class” like “Giant payoffs for Bolshevik Bowdoinians!” No wonder the working people who actually live in that housing project next door to the rally took no interest in it whatsoever.

Though I am not happy about the rise of the completely phony and insincere Elizabeth Warren, I do look forward to the day when Bernard Sanders is sent back to the nursing home known as the United States Senate.



President Trump: We May Have To Get In Wars While We Pull Out Of Wars

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Pentagon is prepping a “just in case” plan with regard to U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan:

The Pentagon recently began drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in case President Donald Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown as he did in Syria, three current and former defense officials said.

The contingency planning is ongoing, the officials said, and includes the possibility that Trump orders all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan within weeks. Officials cautioned, however, that the planning is a precaution and there is currently no directive from the White House to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

One of the officials called it “prudent planning.”

Another official described the president’s current approach to Syria as “a dress rehearsal” for what could happen in Afghanistan.

While President Trump has reiterated his goal of bringing U.S. troops home, his re-deployment of troops from Syria to Iraq, as well as sending more than 1,000 troops to Saudia Arabia, undermine his pledge.

The President said today that while he was trying to get the U.S. out of wars, we may, nonetheless, have to get involved in wars:

President Donald Trump on Monday offered a confusing description of his foreign policy priorities as commander in chief — insisting that he was working to bring home American soldiers while warning the U.S. may soon enter into new military conflicts.

“I’m trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too. OK? We may have to get in wars,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“We’re better prepared than we’ve ever been,” he continued. “If Iran does something, they’ll be hit like they’ve never been hit before. I mean, we have things that we’re looking at.”

With that, there is an eye-opening report out about President Trump’s first Pentagon meeting with then- Defense Secretary James Mattis, wherein Mattis attempted to help Trump understand foreign policy and the big world picture. Much to his frustration however, the President was more interested in a big, flashy military parade:

Mattis, for whom I was working as chief speechwriter, had hoped the briefing would educate Trump on the United States’ longstanding commitment to the rest of the world. That is not at all what happened.

Instead, the president burst out in the middle of the meeting.

“I just returned from France,” he said. “Did you see President Macron’s handshake?” he asked no one in particular. “He wouldn’t let go. He just kept holding on. I spent two hours at Bastille Day. Very impressive.”

A pause.

“I want a ‘Victory Day.’ Just like Veterans Day. The Fourth of July is too hot,” he said, apparently out of nowhere. “I want vehicles and tanks on Main Street. On Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol to the White House. We need spirit! We should blow everybody away with this parade. The French had an amazing parade on Bastille Day with tanks and everything. Why can’t we do that?”


It was far from what Mattis had expected as he prepared meticulously for the meeting just hours before.

As the seconds ticked down, Mattis’ nervous energy had been palpable. Unusually so. Normally stoic and deliberate with his movements, this morning he was electrified. He was pacing in his office in the Pentagon, moving from a standing desk that faced the Potomac to the small circular table and back again. He shuffled his notes, putting them into a nondescript dark blue folder, pausing for a few seconds in hesitation before pulling them out again to rearrange their order. Things needed to be perfect.

I understood why he was nervous. We all did. At any time, this briefing would be a big deal for the department, regardless of the president. But in Trump’s case, the briefing had a heightened importance.


They felt incredible pressure to educate the president, believing that if only Trump could be made to recognize the value of American allies and the stability afforded by the presence of our troops, he’d reconsider and alter course.

If anyone could change the president’s mind, it was Mattis.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t. It’s a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the effort made to educate Trump about U.S. foreign policy and the impact it has on the rest of the world, as well as our relationship with other nations. It’s written by Guy Snodgrass, former chief speechwriter for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. I’m linking to it because it offers a view into why the President’s “foreign policy” is so “hazy”.



President Trump Undermines His Vow To Bring U.S. Troops Home

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The President ran on a campaign pledge to bring bring U.S. troops back home, and to end the “endless wars”. He has consistently maintained that it is still his still his goal. He tweeted this just four days ago:

However, we are learning today that the U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria are most definitely not headed home:

American forces continued their withdrawal from northern Syria Sunday and headed for Iraq, while efforts continued for a Kurdish evacuation from the area under the terms of the cease-fire agreed between the U.S. and Turkey.

Amid growing chaos after Turkey invaded the region earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said late Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops pulling out of northern Syria will now head to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants.

With President Donald Trump facing continued criticism for his approach to the crisis, the news means his vow to bring the troops home will seemingly go unfulfilled.

Also, according to Esper, troops will have two missions in Iraq:

“One is to help defend Iraq and two is to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” he said. “Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.”

Esper’s full comments can be read here.

This morning, President Trump tweeted:

I have questions: Where are the Kurds being resettled? In mass graves? Detention camps? Exactly where? What does “we have secured the oil” mean? How has it been secured? How does the withdrawal from Syria and move into Iraq end any wars? And, amidst the chaos in northern Syria, if ISIS is able to reconstitute, will the U.S. in Iraq head back to Syria? Most importantly, who are the real winners here?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Reverses Decision On G-7 Location, Blames Crazed Democrats And Media

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

He made the announcement on Twitter:

During the announcement on Thursday that Trump’s Doral Resort in Miami would be the location for the next G-7 meeting, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had dismissed the presidential retreat at Camp David as a possible location for the event:

I mean, who was here for the last time it was at Camp David? Was that the perfect place? In fact, I understand the folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to have the G7. It was way too small. It was way too remote. My understanding is this media didn’t like it because you had to drive an hour on a bus to get there either way.

This morning, Mulvaney talked to Chris Wallace about the reversal of the decision:

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Mulvaney said Trump “was honestly surprised at the level of pushback” against his selection of Doral. “At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”

I’m at a loss to understand how Trump and Mulvaney still don’t grasp how bad the optics were on the decision to host the G-7 at Doral, espeically when considering the ethical and legal implications. Frankly, if Trump still believes he is in the hospitality business, in spite of being the sitting President of the United States, that might actually explain a whole lot…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 157

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:06 am

It is the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn” (I will not let you go, except you bless me):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 18:1-8:

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words — an ode to the rewards of persistent faith:

I will not let You go, therefore bless me!

I hold my Jesus tightly,
I will not let Him go now or ever.
He alone is my resting-place,
therefore my faith forcefully grasps
His countenance full of blessing;
for this comfort is indeed the best.

. . . .

Yes, yes, I hold Jesus tightly,
therefore I will also enter into heaven,
O lovely place!
Come, gentle death, and lead me away,
where God and the guests of His Lamb
are crowned for the wedding.

. . . .

I will not let go of my Jesus,
I will walk beside Him forever;
Christ shall for ever and ever have me
guided to the springs of life.
Blessed, whoever says with me:
I will not let go of my Jesus.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:51 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: Hillary Clinton claims that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a tool being prepped by Russia as a third-party spoiler to help President Trump win reelection in 2020:

“They are also going to do third party again,” Clinton, 71, said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said, referring to Gabbard, without mentioning the Hawaii representative by name.

“She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.

“They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it’s going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”

Gabbard punched back:

Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.

It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

Second news item: President Trump is threatening to sue CNN for perceived unfair media coverage:

Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump and his re-election campaign have threatened in a letter to sue CNN for what they said was the network falsely advertising itself as a news organization, calling on executives to first discuss an “appropriate resolution” to the matter that would include a “substantial” payment to cover damages.

The network’s response to the threat:

This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response.

Third news item: ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, not just trying to shut down a woman , but lumping her in with an accused rapist and subject of numerous allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior toward women in the workplace:

He later deleted the tweet with a load of babbling bullshit:

I deleted the original tweet. No matter how right I feel, it is not the loving way I want to be in this world. We have enough meanness and coarseness in the world today, I strive to do better each day. I do wish you well and hope we can heal instead of hurt.

Make sure you read the full exchange at Megyn Kelly’s Twitter feed. With grace and finesse, she neatly puts Dowd in his place at every turn.

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



State Dept. Official Raised Concerns About Hunter Biden On Ukraine Energy Board In 2015, Was Rebuffed By Joe Biden Aide

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:15 am

[guest post by Dana]

Per the Washington Post:

A career State Department official overseeing Ukraine policy told congressional investigators this week that he had raised concerns in early 2015 about then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company but was turned away by a Biden staffer, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, testified Tuesday that he worried that Hunter Biden’s position at the firm Burisma Holdings would complicate efforts by U.S. diplomats to convey to Ukrainian officials the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality rules surrounding the deposition.

Kent said he had concerns that Ukrainian officials would view Hunter Biden as a conduit for currying influence with his father, said the people. But when Kent raised the issue with Biden’s office, he was told the then-vice president didn’t have the “bandwidth” to deal with the issue involving his son as his other son, Beau, was battling cancer, said the people familiar with his testimony.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Deal Struck: Turkey Agrees To 5-Day Ceasefire, No New U.S. Sanctions (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vice-President Mike Pence made the announcement:

After an hours-long meeting, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday afternoon that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria.

The vice president said Turkey would pause its invasion for 120 hours in order to allow Kurdish allies to withdraw from the safe zone of the border region. Pence said the leaders committed to defeating ISIS and renewed an agreement to “coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS-controlled areas.”

The U.S. agreed not to put new sanctions in place and to end the current sanctions if the ceasefire holds.

It appears that the Kurds will comply with the agreement:

The commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria has told Kurdish TV that they will abide by a cease-fire agreement announced in Ankara by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Mazloum Abdi tells Ronahi TV that the extent of the cease-fire stretches 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the town of Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ayn.

That appeared to conflict with Turkey’s insistence that its “safe zone” from which Kurdish forces must be removed should stretch the entire length of the border from the Euphrates River to Iraq.

“We will do whatever we can for the success of the cease-fire agreement,” Mazloum said Thursday, describing it as a “tentative agreement.”

President Trump was exultant on Twitter:

It depends on one’s definition of “tough love”:

Meanwhile, Turkish prime minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference that, “this is not a cease fire”:

“The US side has accepted the necessity of a safe zone to protect Turkey’s security interests. And we have reached a full agreement for the Turkish army to control this zone,” he told a news conference in Ankara.

“This is not a ceasefire, a ceasefire can only be made only between two legitimate sides,” he said, adding that withdrawing Kurdish fighters will return their heavy weapons and destroy their fortifications.

Winners and losers: :

It sounds like Erdogan’s going to get everything he wants here, a territory cleansed of Kurds, and he’ll get it without having to risk the lives of any more Turkish troops. Even better for him, if the Kurds refuse to retreat, Erdogan can then start shooting again and claim that it’s the Kurds who are defying the United States now, not him.

And this:

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory. Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached precipitously to withdraw from Syria and why that decision was reached,” Romney said.


“Adding insult to dishonor, the administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty,” Romney said. “We once abandoned a red line. Now we abandon an ally.”

“The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history,” Romney continued.

UPDATE: Reports are coming in that Turkey has already violated the ceasefire:

Shelling and artillery fire was reported Friday in the border town of Ras al-Ain, one of the targets of Turkey’s week-old offensive against Kurdish fighters, who have long been backed by the United States.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told CNN that shelling by the Turkish military and the Syrian rebel proxies supporting them has hit a number of civilian areas in Ras al-Ain, including a hospital. The SDF says five fighters were killed in the attack.

“SDF are committed to the ceasefire, but from last night until this morning we are seeing shelling on Ras al-Ain by the Turkish military and its mercenaries on SDF and civilian Kurdish targets, and in particular on the Ras al-Ain hospital in the city this morning,” SDF Press Commander Merivan Qamishlo said.

“The situation inside the Ras al-Ain Hospital is catastrophic. Three ambulance vehicles belonging to the Kurdish Red Crescent were prevented from entering and were shot at. The city is completely surrounded by air and ground from the Turkish military,” he added.


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Confirmed: President Trump To Host Next Year’s G-7 At His Miami Golf Resort

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:39 am

[guest post by Dana]

While President Trump may not directly benefit financially from hosting the event at his property, the Trump Organization will most certainly benefit with a significant shot in the arm to the Trump Brand, likely resulting in an increase of national and international tourism to the resort, and his other properties. It’s disingenuous to believe that such a high-profile meeting involving some of the world’s most prominent leaders wouldn’t benefit the Trump Organization:

[A]cting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced…that next year’s G-7 meeting will be held at President Trump’s resort in Doral, Florida between June 10 and 12.

The decision to hold the G-7 meeting at the Trump National Doral Golf Club had been bandied about for months — since Trump made a pitch to have next year’s summit at the resort during August’s G-7 conference in France – and has created controversy amid concerns over the ethics of the president personally profiting off an official government event.

During a rare and contentious White House press briefing, Mulvaney tried to assuage concerns about any emoluments violations by the president by telling the media that Trump will not make any money off the event. He said the golf club will be providing the location and services at cost.

“The president has made it clear that he doesn’t profit from being here…“The resort is doing it at cost…it’s much cheaper to do it at Doral than at other sites.”

When I originally posted about the possibility of the G-7 being held at Doral, I noted that there were already concerns about the conflict of interest, given that the President had never divested from the Trump Organization:

The Washington Post reports that Trump has long pushed to hold next year’s G7 at the Doral but has seen some internal resistance from people concerned about the ethics of such a decision. The problem is that Trump has never divested from his company, the Trump Organization, meaning he would personally profit from the summit’s coming to the Doral.

He dismissed the concerns speaking to reporters Monday. “In my opinion, I’m not going to make any money,” he said. He added that being president costs him between $3 billion and $5 billion a year, a claim he said he would soon back up with evidence.

Today, Mulvaney defended the decision when asked about bad optics amid Trump’s accusations about Joe Biden pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor looking into a company where Hunter Biden sat on the board:

Mulvaney was also questioned about the optics of how hosting the event at Doral would look – and any possible financial gains the president would get from the summit – in light of Trump’s unfounded claims that former Vice President Joe Biden used his office to pressure the Ukrainian government into firing top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating a company where his son was on the board.

The former vice president has acknowledged publicly that he pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin but denied it had any relation to his son’s business dealings in the country. Biden said his actions were in line with pressure from other foreign leaders to fire the prosecutor.

Mulvaney argued that the president does not need any help with his brand and that he had made his fortune before entering politics.

“Consider that Donald Trump’s brand is strong enough at it is and doesn’t need any help…The Trump family made their money before they went into politics.”

While it is true that the Trump family went into politics with significant wealth and an established brand, the Doral Resort is not doing well financially and hosting an event of this magnitude could certainly reverse its fortunes:

Trump’s presidency so far seems to have harmed Trump Doral’s bottom line. In a meeting with a magistrate for the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board in December 2018, a consultant hired by the Trump Organization said the hotel is “severely under-performing.” The consultant cited lower occupancy and room rates at the Doral hotel compared to its competitors and an 18 percent slump in revenue from 2015 to 2017 as reasons to lower the property’s value.

Trump blew off any concerns about his decision:

I used to make money off giving speeches. Now, I make speeches all the time and you know how much I make? Zero. From my standpoint, I’m not going to make any money…I don’t want to make any money.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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