Donald Trump’s White House Promises to Be Almost Comically Sordid

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Today an Argentinian journalist reported on a phone call between the Big Apple and the Big Apple:

Would Trump do something like this? Sure. Would both sides deny it if he did? Of course. On the other hand, the only evidence behind it is the unsourced report of a leftist journalist who has no love for Argentine President Mauricio Macri. It’s hardly likely that the New York Times would run with something like that. Especially considering this:

Jorge Lanata, an Argentine journalist, said on his show Sunday that Trump had advocated during the phone call for approval of the construction of a Trump-branded property in Buenos Aires. But Lanata prefaced his statement by saying, “mitad en joda, mitad en serio,” which roughly translates to “half joking, half serious.”

That preface was dropped from a story about the report in Talking Points Memo, which quoted an account from La Nacion, an Argentine newspaper. The TPM story promptly attracted controversy on social media and was followed by a formal denial from Macri’s office.

Beyond this, you really can’t wait a few hours and then declare that the media has dropped the whole thing. Any serious news outlet would spend time reporting this out before running anything, and that could take days or weeks. So maybe they’ve dropped it, maybe they haven’t. We’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, Trump has met with some of his Indian business partners; he’s trying to hire Jared Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka, who will be running the Trump Organization in his absence; he’s reportedly thinking about using his own hotel to put up foreign delegations; he has explicitly refused to divest himself of his business interests or even make a modest attempt to keep them at arms length; and both Mike Pence and Reince Priebus think any concern over this is just ridiculous.

In other words, I don’t think we’re going to lack for examples of obvious cronyism and conflicts of interest in the Trump White House. If the Argentinian thing doesn’t pan out, plenty of other episodes of Trumpian venality will.

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