Donald Trump has made no secret of the fact that he will mix personal profit in with his work as President of the United States. Last week, he announced that the many Trump businesses will not be placed in a blind trust while he is in office, but will be managed by his two adult sons. There will be no formal protections to prevent Donald Trump from discussing the deals being made by Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. The American people simply will have to trust that the Trump Administration isn’t talking business when it meets with the leaders of the Trump companies.
Has that trust been earned? Throughout the Trump transition, President Elect Donald Trump has personally pressured foreign governments, business leaders, and wealthy individuals to patronize Trump businesses in exchange for political access to the White House.
Tonight, those shady arrangements come out into the open, as the incoming Trump Administration hosts events at which wealthy individuals and corporate lobbyists have been specifically told that they will have to pay extremely large amounts of money to gain access to opportunities for “intimate policy discussion” with Trump White House officials, including the incoming Vice President Mike Pence and Trump Cabinet nominees.
The first of these gatherings of open bribery are taking place tonight. The cost for access to policy negotiations with Trump Cabinet nominees tonight is between $100,000 and $250,000 per person. The cost for access to policy negotiations with Mike Pence tonight is between $500,000 and $1 million.
If you don’t happen to be one of those lucky Americans who has hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare to pay bribes to the Trump Administration, you simply won’t be allowed to participate in the political process.