On MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wednesday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called out Donald Trump’s derangement while slamming his creepy obsession with her. “I’m living rent-free inside of Donald Trump’s brain, and it’s not a very nice place to be, I can tell you that,” she quipped. Hours later, news broke that actual renters at one of Trump’s properties were apparently filling his coffers thanks to the President’s proud disregard of the Constitution.
Under the Foreign Missions Act, foreign governments must get permission from the State Department to lease any U.S. property. According to records obtained by Reuters, it appears the State Department granted permission to seven foreign governments to rent or renew luxury condo leases in New York’s Trump World Tower within eight months after Trump’s inauguration. The 13 requests granted during that time was higher than in the previous two years combined. Although the State Department followed the Foreign Missions Act in granting the requests, the Trump administration forgot about the Constitution. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, commonly known as the emoluments clause, requires U.S. officials to refuse “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State” unless they have congressional approval.
The purpose of the emoluments clause is to prevent improper foreign influence over our government, which is something Trump keeps reminding us he cares nothing about. Just yesterday, for example, Trump admitted to a reporter that he did not confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about meddling in the next election, despite the Mueller report’s finding that the Russian government interfered in 2016 in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” and despite the two leaders chatting for “probably over an hour,” as Trump told reporters.
Not only did Donald Trump fail to seek approval from Congress for his lucrative condo leases, according to Chairman Elijah Cummings, Trump has been stonewalling the House Oversight Committee in its efforts to get information about foreign government payments. As Cummings told Reuters, “The American public deserves full transparency.” That is true, but even more vitally, we deserve a President who takes his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” seriously.