President Donald Trump ordered the US to help bail out a Chinese state-run phone maker just 72 hours after the country’s government approved $500 million for an Indonesian project that will “personally enrich” him, The Huffington Post reports.
“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
The tweet struck many as curious but as it turns out it came after China did him a big favor.
Trump did not mention in that tweet or its follow-ups that on Thursday, the developer of a theme park resort outside of Jakarta had signed a deal to receive as much as $500 million in Chinese government loans, as well as another $500 million from Chinese banks. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, has a deal to license the Trump name to the resort, which includes a golf course and hotels.
Trump, despite his promises to do so during the campaign, has not divested himself of his businesses, and continues to profit from them…
For ethics advocates, the timing of the ZTE tweet on the heels of the Indonesian development announcement is yet another example of the consequences of Trump’s unwillingness to abide by the emoluments clause.
“The Chinese government seems to have figured out a way to manipulate President Trump,” Weissman said. “It’s exactly why this anti-bribery clause of the Constitution is common sense.”
“You do a good deal for him, he does a good deal for you. Quid pro quo,” former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told HuffPo. “This appears to be yet another violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.”