Trump Doesn’t Care About Americans, He Cares About His Money

President Donald Trump during his tour of Saudi Arabia. (White House)

he grisly death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi should be a lesson to all Americans, especially Trump supporters. The president of the United States doesn’t care about you. He cares about money, first and foremost.

When details leaked of Khashoggi’s death, allegedly ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I knew that Trump would do nothing. The United States already has deep financial and energy ties to Saudi Arabia, but Trump is evenly more in debt to the kingdom. The Saudis have bailed him out of several bankruptcies and sunk millions of dollars into his apartments. In 1995, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought out Trump’s stake in the New York Plaza Hotel. According to Quartz, that got Trump off the hook for $125 million.

I’ve read Trump looks at all relationships as transactional and his relationship with the Saudis is evident of that. In 2015, Trump said: “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

So in Trump’s mind, if someone gives him money, he’s willing to overlook anything they do, even dismembering a U.S. permanent resident. But this isn’t the first time Trump has shown indifference to the welfare of an American. After he returned from the disastrous Helsinki summit, he initially accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion and offered to send former Ambassador Michael McFaul back to Russia to be interrogated. If that had happened McPhaul, a Putin critic, would have definitely been tortured and executed.

The Khasshogi affair is symptomatic of the Trump presidency. The entire exercise is a giant graft. I’ve read Michael Cohen’s “Fire and Fury” and Bob Woodward’s “Fear.” Both books suggest Trump never expected to be president. Michael Cohen even says that most of Trump’s close friends and family knew he wasn’t capable of doing the job. According to Cohen, the presidential run was Trump’s way of generating enough publicity to launch his own TV network.

Once he got into office, Trump immediately went about squeezing as much money out of the government as possible. In the early days of the presidency, first lady Melania Trump ran ads for her merchandise on the White House homepage. Trump also added the presidential seal to some of his business merchandise. (Both acts were illegal and were later stopped.)

Trump also eagerly accepted business from foreign countries looking for his favor. Foreign countries soon figured out that if you wanted to get into the president’s good graces, all you had to do was spend a lot of money at his hotels and he would roll over like a dog looking to get his belly scratched. The Saudis have rented out a whole floor of a Trump hotel, which remains mainly empty.

Trump’s also bills the government every time he goes to one of his golf courses. The Secret Service gets the tab when they rent golf equipment to protect the president and Trump gets another government check. According to the Los Angeles Times, each trip cost the Secret Service $3 million.

As I said before, Republicans say they hate the government, but they love the benefits from being in the government. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, has also used his connections to help his business interests. Kushner was saddled with a $1.4 billion debt after he purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in New York, and couldn’t find a buyer. But as the president’s son-in-law, he had access to international investors with deep pockets, who agreed to bail him out. 666 Fifth Avenue was recently acquired by anonymous buyers, according to CNN.

But it gets even more sinister. The Saudis are long-time enemies of Iran. (The Saudis are Sunni Muslims, while the Iranians are Shiite Muslims. ) According to Ian Masters, host of “Background Briefing,” the Saudis would like to take out the Iranian regime, and have America do it for them. They also share the same interests as Israel, who would also like the Iranian theocracy gone.

So what do you think Trump will do when his Saudi friends push him to attack Iran? Do you think he’ll think twice about sending Americans to fight in Iran, especially when the Saudis have showered him with money? He shrugged off the death of an American permanent resident because he didn’t want to jeopardize million-dollar deals, so he’ll have no problem sending American kids to die in the desert — as long as gets a cut.

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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