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Donald’s dollars: Mixing private gain and public funds


Who could have predicted that electing an obnoxiously self-promoting president who refuses to separate himself from his family business and demands loyalty from his staff would cause unacceptable entanglements between public interest and private profit? Just about everyone.

Which is why it comes as no surprise that, in the wake of reports that there’s been a marked increase in the number of U.S. military flights stopping to refuel at an airport near the Trump Organization’s troubled Turnberry resort in Scotland, the Air Force has ordered a review.

“NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” tweets the president. Mmm hmm.

And why it comes as no surprise that Vice President Mike Pence stayed at an out-of-the-way Trump property on a recent trip to Ireland. Pence’s top staffer said Trump suggested it; the president says he had “nothing to do” with that one either. Yep.

And why it comes as no surprise that Attorney General Bill Barr — you know, the nation’s chief law enforcement official — booked a Trump hotel for a $30,000 holiday party.

Good government groups are trying to get the courts to focus on whether all this self-dealing violates seemingly unenforceable clauses in the Constitution barring emoluments, or side payments, foreign and domestic. Ordinary Americans should ask themselves a less technical question: Isn’t it all just disgustingly unseemly?