By Robert Reich
One of Donald Trump’s main campaign promises was to put “America First” and defend American interests above all else. It was a theme that riled up his base at rallies across the country, but this has turned out to be yet another big lie.
At every turn, he has sold out America for his own personal interest. Instead of putting America first, here are 6 ways Donald Trump has put himself first:
1) He has encouraged foreign powers to interfere in our democracy. Trump is using the power of the presidency to encourage foreign leaders to interfere in our elections – asking the President of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents in exchange for military aid. He has also publicly called on Russia and China to investigate his political opponents.
2) He receives money from foreign governments through his hotels and real estate business. Since taking office, representatives of at least 22 foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia, have spent money at properties owned by the Trump Organization. These payments are clear violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which forbids the president from accepting anything of value from foreign governments. Trump had even planned to host next year’s G-7 meeting at his Doral golf resort, in Florida, but this brazen corruption was apparently too much even for his supporters in Congress.
3) He is making foreign policy on the basis of where his business is located around the world. The simplest explanation for why he cozies up to Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan, even withdrawing US troops from the Syrian border, is the Trump Towers Istanbul is his first and only office and residential building in Europe, and businesses linked to the Turkish government are also major patrons of the Trump Organization.
4) He has called on foreign powers to investigate Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded that Trump’s campaign sought help from Russia during the 2016 election. The Trump administration has encouraged officials in Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom to investigate details of Mueller’s investigation in an effort to discredit his report.
5) He is favoring authoritarian regimes around the world, turning his back on America’s allies. Beyond Turkey’s Erdogan, Trump has said he’s “in love” with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and, of course, praised Vladimir Putin.
6) He has ignored American intelligence agencies, relying instead on foreign governments. He has repeatedly disputed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, favoring Vladimir Putin’s version of what happened over the findings of our own intelligence community.
Donald Trump claims to be a patriot at the same time as he sells out America. He has brazenly sought private gain from foreign governments at the expense of the American people. Instead of putting “America First,” he has repeatedly put “Donald First.”