Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Week In Review

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

He invited about a hundred foreign diplomats to his new Washington D.C. hotel in order to hear a sales pitch for the facility. The hotel has hired a "director of diplomatic sales" and is expected to compete aggressively for foreign missions' business.

The hotel is one of the many Trump businesses that Trump has said will be managed in a "blind trust" by his three eldest children, all of whom are also members of his transition team. Even in theory, this would not be a blind trust, since Trump would know what businesses he owned, and his children will have access to the inner workings of his administration. But even pro forma separation seems unlikely: in the past week, his daughter Ivanka sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Trump and his children took a meeting with his Indian business partners.

Trump began the week by announcing that he was appointing Steve Bannon as his senior counsel and chief strategist. Bannon is the former editor of Breitbart News, and, like the site, has been variously described as "alt-right," white nationalist, or white supremacist. Neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations have been openly gleeful about Trump's candidacy and have seen Bannon's appointment as confirmation that Trump is sympathetic.

So why are these bad things?

  • It should not be possible to buy the influence of the President of the United States.
  • It's a problem if things look corrupt, even if a President isn't trying to be corruptible.
  • Presidents of the United States of America should probably be more bothered by compliments from neo-Nazis than they are by satire from Saturday Night Live.