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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Trump excels at cheapening American democracy. And he did it again on Tuesday, turning a diplomatic visit with a world leader into an infomercial for his golf resort.

At a photo op with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Trump couldn’t resist praising Mar-a-Lago while also butchering its history.

“Many of the world’s great leaders request to come to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach,” Trump said. “They like it, I like it, we’re comfortable. We have great relationships.”

He went on to claim — wrongly — that the estate “was originally built as the southern White House.” And he again boasted that “many of the leaders want to be here, they request it specifically.”

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi immediately blasted Trump following the remarks.

“That was full-up weird,” Velshi said pointedly. “That was an infomercial for Mar-a-Lago, which didn’t make any sense. It’s a private club, and the president was touting it.”

The estate was not built as a “southern White House,” but as a private mansion. It was bequeathed to the U.S. government by Marjorie Post 50 years after it was constructed. It became a private club after President Jimmy Carter returned the property to the Post Foundation.

Trump has made a regular habit of profiting from the presidency, which he began right after his inauguration with another visit from Japan’s prime minister. Trump’s White House claimed that Abe’s stay at Mar-a-Lago was a “gift,” one that ethics lawyer Norm Eisen called a “free global infomercial” for the club.

American taxpayers have also been billed for expenses at Mar-a-Lago for every trip Trump has made there. And Trump has made a regular habit of visiting his other properties while traveling, boosting their profits as well.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was also admonished for using the White House as a storefront for Ivanka Trump’s merchandise.

The constant grift that is the Trump administration has been an international shame since his inauguration. Using a meeting with a world leader to promote his property is a further embarrassment.