I actually believe Mick Mulvaney is telling the truth, more or less:
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday" that President Trump was "honestly surprised" at the level of pushback he received from the decision to choose his own Doral resort in Miami as the site of next year's G7 summit, which he walked back Saturday night.
"He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could. And he was very comfortable doing it at Doral. And I think we were all surprised at the level of pushback...."
Do I think Trump is trying to make money from the presidency? Of course, although he's a terrible kleptocrat. His properties aren't making much money, and he's never done what a real kleptocrat does, which is to channel revenues from businesses that don't have his name on them into his own pockets, like Vladimir Putin, who may or may not be the richest man in the world as a result of such practices.
I think Trump has an extremely fragile ego that's bound up in his business interests. He wants world leaders to agree with him that his properties are the best, the finest, so, as Politico reports, he's forever pestering them on the subject.
President Donald Trump was sitting beside Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office in March when he fondly recalled his luxury golf resort on Ireland’s west coast.
He gushed about his two tony Scottish resorts months later while standing next to French President Emmanuel Macron in France.
And in August, while meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he first suggested that he just might bring the G-7 summit of world leaders to one of his own Florida resorts in 2020. “We haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it,” he said.
Trump constantly brags about his properties around the globe when he speaks with foreign leaders in person or by phone, even more than the public instances witnessed out in the open, according to three people familiar with Trump’s conversations with foreign officials. The remarks are permeating every membrane of his presidency....
Sure, he's selling his properties, but he also seems to respond well to flattery that makes him no money at all.
... as they have gotten to know Trump, [foreign leaders] have learned to regularly mention his properties in what appear to be attempts to flatter him.
In June 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Trump a photo of his family’s first property in that country as a gift....
And this year, in another meeting with the Irish leader, it was the prime minister who first mentioned a Trump property when he asked during an Oval Office meeting about whether the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York passes Trump Tower.
Trump laughed and replied that it did. “I used to watch it all the time,” Trump told him. “I would watch it all the time. So you’ll be there on Saturday?”
Someone who used to work in the administration puts it in social-Darwinian terms.
A former senior administration official said Trump likes talking about his properties with foreign leaders — “not necessarily” to boost his businesses but to display dominance. “It’s literally to show how big and powerful I am,” the person said. “It’s bragging rights.”
But I think it's the opposite. He's insecure. This is what he's done with his life and yet some people snub him, and he can't stand it. Stay at one of my properties. Tell me they're the best. Please?
Many of them do, as a way of currying favor. They pay him money, so the transactions qualify as emoluments for which he should be impeached.
But the real payment is in ego gratification. The Framers didn't talk about that -- they envisioned a president who might profit materially from the presidency (and gave us a mechanism to prevent presidents from doing that), but they never envisioned a president profiting emotionally. That's primarily what Trump is doing -- and it's just a different form of corruption.
The House should write and pass and article impeaching Trump for the cash transactions, as a stand-in for impeaching him because foreign governments are trading ego massages for favorable treatment.
Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog