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Is Trump a president or a timeshare salesman?

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- The Amazon is burning, a trade war is escalating, and the world economy is deteriorating.

Enter President Trump, taking the stage on Monday at the Group of Seven gathering of world leaders in Biarritz, France, to assure an anxious world that … his golf resort in Miami is just tremendous!

"With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings -- we call them bungalows -- they each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views," Trump said at the closing news conference of the international gathering.

Trump, who had been asked to clarify his earlier (inappropriate) remarks promoting his Miami-area property at the international gathering, instead expanded on them: "We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. And we have many hundreds of acres so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida, and the best."

"We." With that pronoun, Trump spoke not as president of the United States but as de facto head of the Trump Organization. And he now endeavors to abuse his status as host of next year's G-7 summit to force foreign countries and U.S. taxpayers to pump millions more dollars into one of his properties.

Trump is essentially requiring foreign governments to pay him the very definition of unconstitutional emoluments. Is this a president or a timeshare salesman?

 

Trump is often criticized for representing only those who voted for him, but even that description seemed generous Monday. On French soil, Trump seemed to be representing only himself.

This isn't the first time Trump has been unable (or unwilling) to distinguish the national interest from his own. And his l'etat-c'est-moiroutine isn't just for the French. After meeting recently with mass-shooting victims, he rhapsodized about their "love for me -- and me, maybe, as a representative of the country -- but for me."

He has badgered the Federal Reserve chairman to reduce interest rates, which would benefit him as a huge borrower. The president has made untold millions from his tax cuts and from foreign governments booking rooms and meals at his properties.

Trump makes geopolitical decisions based on how he's treated personally. It's no mere coincidence that Japan, which nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize and gave him a fancy state visit, has escaped the worst of his trade wrath. By contrast, he canceled a visit to Denmark and claimed the prime minister had insulted the United States by labeling "absurd" his (absurd) plan to buy Greenland: "You don't talk to the United States that way!"

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