5 Crazy Trump Stories That'd Be Scandals In A Normal World
These days, the media is less a service for filtering the most important information into your head, and more a direct pipeline into Donald Trump's lizard brain. Fortunately for you, we don't particularly care about our mental health, so we dove into recent events and pulled up some stories that the media didn't cover in the same level of excruciating detail that they normally reserve for his word flubs. Like ...
Jared Kushner's Dodgy AF Real Estate Dealings
As a man tasked with bringing diplomacy to the world's most contentious hot spots, solving the opioid crisis, and finally learning to read, Jared Kushner is so comically out of his depth that we'd almost feel sorry for the poor doofus ... if he wasn't up to his eyeballs in suspect business of his own.
After Kushner was brought to the White House in 2017, a real estate company he founded with his brothers, Cadre, received over $90 million in funding from a "opaque offshore vehicle" based in the Cayman Islands -- which you may recognize as the backstory for the evil businessman from every '90s action movie. But didn't Kushner have to give up his role in the company when he joined the government? Yes, but he still owns a significant stake in Cadre -- a stake that's now worth $50 million, as a result of the company's mysterious benefactor.
Now, we can't definitively declare who's making it rain, but according to The Guardian, the funding was deposited into the Cayman account from other locations, including another offshore tax haven and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Kushner isn't likely to be offering up any details about his financial arrangements in the near future, especially considering that he was once questioned by the government for failing to disclose his stake in Cadre, which he called an "inadvertent" mistake.
We don't want to tell the guy how to spend his money, but he might want to consider investing in a memory trainer or something. When Kushner applied for his national security clearance, the forms he submitted were so badly riddled with errors and omissions that the application was rejected over concerns that he was susceptible to "foreign influence." He eventually got his clearance, but only because a member of the administration complained to the vetting agency. Which is the government version of "I'd like to speak to your manager."
U.S. Troops Stationed At The Border Were Ordered To Paint The Wall
Few things get Donald Trump's blood pumping quite like the words "border" and "wall." Which is why it came as a surprise when he called it "ugly" a few months back. In response, the Department of Homeland Security called upon the Pentagon for 100 active-duty troops. Their mission? To roll up their sleeves, grab paintbrushes, and go to town on a recently installed section of the wall, like they were contractors on a racism-themed special edition of Property Brothers.
In an email, the DHS explained that the job, which took 30 days and cost $150,000, was primarily carried out to "improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall," before tacking on something about how the work might have an "operational benefit" in helping to combat the "camouflaging tactics of illegal border crossers" -- an explanation which suggests that by "aliens," the administration wasn't talking about foreigners but Predators.
As for the troops who were tasked with painting the wall, we hope they enjoyed the experience. In order to acquire the funds to build the wall, Trump wound up raiding money the military had earmarked to build/renovate military base housing, schools, and gyms. When asked about whether he had any qualms about doing that to the troops, Trump replied that no, he didn't, on account of how those things "didn't sound too important."
We don't have a snappy ending here, we just want everyone to think about that quote for a little while.
Elaine Chao Tried To Smuggle A Family Member Into A Meeting With The Chinese Government
It's easy to think that marrying Mitch McConnell would be the most questionable life choice Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao could possibly make. It's easy to think that, but you'd be wrong.
In October 2017, Chao was due to undertake a diplomatic mission to China and meet with several government officials. In the days beforehand, however, an official at the U.S. embassy in Beijing raised alarm bells at the State Department after Chao requested that they also arrange for "at least one" of her relatives to also attend these meetings. The ask was so concerning that they were soon inquiring with Chao's office about what she was planning -- after which she cancelled her visit to China entirely.
We don't know which relative Chao planned to bring along, but it seems important to note that she is the daughter of James Chao, a shipping magnate whose company, Foremost Group, not only does a helluva lot of its business in China, but also depends on the Chinese government to finance the construction of its ships. Now, why would Chao try pull a Take Your Father To Work Day? Well, such an arrangement would be pretty beneficial to her, too.
For example, in 2008, Chao and McConnell received a gift "valued at between $5 million and $25 million" from her father. Meanwhile, PACs associated with McConnell continue to receive a steady stream of donations from her family to this day, which is weird for a dude so down on "handouts" and "socialism."
Trump's Travel Costs Are Spiraling Out of Control
Earlier this year, The Washington Post released an analysis of Trump's probable traveling expenses, all based upon the known cost, as disclosed by the Government Accountability Office, of the first four trips he took to Mar-a-Lago at the start of his presidency. In total, these trips cost an average of $3.4 million each. So how many times has Trump visited Mar-a-Lago in total? That's 24 times over two years, for a grand total of $81.6 million.
That figure doesn't even include the $21 million that Trump has spent visiting his golf courses in New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Scotland. Nor does it include the half-million the Secret Service has dropped on specially modified golf carts in the last two years, so that they can protect their boss from protesters, assassins, and the prospect of him having to do any work.
A Bunch Of Documents About The Trump Transition Just Leaked
The Trump administration has a higher butthole turnover rate than every prostate examination room in the world combined. Which is odd, considering that even the most basic retail job assesses not just the likelihood of a potential employee flaking out after two weeks, but also whether there any serious skeletons in their closet. Does the government have a less stringent pre-employment vetting process than Foot Locker? Um, yes, actually.
Back in June, a massive trove of documents pertaining to the transition from Obama to Trump were leaked to the investigative journalism outfit Axios. Chief among them was a cache of vetting documents relating to a whole host of current, former, and potential members of the administration. In fact, reading these documents, which were compiled by the RNC, is downright prophetic, considering that in several cases, the vetting team nailed the exact red flag that would eventually bring down the candidate.
The vetting documents for ex-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, for instance, list concerns that he enjoys a certain level of "coziness with big energy companies." Come July 2018, Pruitt resigned from the EPA over, among other things, his connections with energy lobbyists. Now-former HHS Secretary Tom Price was flagged during pre-employment checks for his "dysfunctional" management style, and was forced to resign in September 2017 after he spent over $1 million using private jets to travel between meetings.
Although he wasn't brought down over his shady-ass dealing with Russia, the vetting for Rex Tillerson -- the now-former secretary of State who only found out he was fired via tweet while sitting on the toilet -- raised concerns that his "Russia ties go deep." The vetting process for Rudy Giuliani, meanwhile, unearthed so much dirt about his "foreign entanglements" that the team wrote a separate 25-page report listing them all.
There were also some weird red flags, too. One that the RNC identified with regards to Mick Mulvaney, the current acting chief of staff, was that he once called Trump "not a very good person." Meanwhile, David Petraeus, who was in the running for secretary of State and National Security Adviser, was flagged for his opposition to torture.
When the RNC vetted Laura Ingraham for a potential role as press secretary, she was pulled up for past transphobic comments, while Kris Kobach, who was vetted for Homeland Security secretary, was flagged over his connections to several white supremacist groups. Which marks the first and last time that ever happened.
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