Conflicts, shmonflicts

Many have noted that Trump’s wild flurry of executive orders and personnel changes is actually the implementation of every nutty thing he promised during the campaign. He’s fulfilling his mandate and doing the things he said he’d do, we’re told. Only a lot faster and more recklessly than anyone had imagined.

So no one should be surprised about the “Extreme Vetting” travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This is something he campaigned on heavily from the beginning. “Something’s going on” he said more than a year ago, and he vowed to prevent Muslims from entering the country “until we figure it out”.

On Trump’s web site in December, 2015, he states his intention of curtailing Muslim immigration.

“…it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again”

His supporters loved this fresh new talk after years of FoxNews criticizing Obama for refusing to say the words “radical Islam”.

And he’s never deviated from the intent or the specific language. “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said during the signing at the Pentagon after the swearing-in of Defense Secretary James Mattis. “We don’t want them here.”

But after all this explicit talk and action about keeping Muslims out, the Trump team is walking it all back a bit. There was so much outrage and chaos resulting from the ban, and so much criticism from even some of his own supporters, that they felt it was necessary to now explain that the ban wasn’t about religion at all. See, there are several Muslim countries not affected by the ban, so the critics are just full of it and creating fake news.

Here’s a map showing countries affected by the ban.

trump-business

As everyone knows, Saudi Arabia is the beating heart of “radical Islam”. Apart from being the location of the holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina, it’s where the poisonous Wahhabi orthodoxy was born and allowed to flourish. It’s where almost all of the 9/11 hijackers came from. You’d think Saudi would be number one on the extreme vetting priorities list.

The usual explanation here is that our oil interests override our security interests, and the Saudi Royals are actually our allies in the fight against terrorism (some allies!), since Al Qaeda regards them as apostates and the ultimate obstacle to establishing their “caliphate”.

But in the Trump era, none of that matters. What matters is where Trump’s business interests are.  What’s notable about the big Muslim countries not affected by the ban is that Trump has business interests in all of them, and no interests in the seven countries affected.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump has several LLCs, according to his most recent financial filings (four of nine have apparently been closed) , and two in Egypt. Also omitted from the list are Turkey, India, and the Philippines, all countries where Trump has businesses. Same with the U.A.E. where Trump’s name is on a golf course and residential developments.

People are completely sick of Trump already. His approval ratings, according to Gallup, dropped eight points in his first week in office.

When the inevitable impeachment proceedings finally begin, they will focus on these conflicts of interest and others. The fact that Trump is manifestly unfit for office by temperament, qualifications, experience, and mental health are the underlying causes, of course, but it will be the conflicts of interest that bring him down in the end.

Just as Trump was unable to “pivot” from being a candidate to a president, he is also unable to change from being a businessman to an elected representative. To him, the business of America is just another profit center for the Trump  organization. He just doesn’t get it.

 

 

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