Vast majority of Republicans remain shamefully silent.
Over the past few years, Donald Trump has shown a remarkable ignorance regarding the Constitution. He has tried to limit the First Amendment, misconstrued the Second Amendment, trampled on the Tenth Amendment with regard to immigration, and generally showed little deference for the nation’s most important document.
Monday was more of the same as he called the emoluments clause “phony” and falsely claimed the presidency has cost him “two to five billion dollars.”
Importantly, the emoluments clauses prevent all elected officials, including presidents, from lining their own pockets using their office.
The Domestic Emoluments Clause, at Article II, Section 1, Clause 7 reads:
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
The Foreign Emoluments Clause, at Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 reads:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
In totality, Trump can’t receive compensation for his services outside a presidential salary. He can’t take money from states or foreign nations or officials. By trying to award himself federal contracts — like hosting the G7 summit — Trump clearly doesn’t care what the Constitution says in this regard. Every Republican in office who remains quiet or doesn’t try to advance any measure preventing such conduct — especially those that tout themselves as “Constitutionalists” — are complicit in unconstitutional behavior.
Trump has tried — and successfully accomplished — ignoring the emoluments clauses on many occasions. While he promised to have no interactions with his business, that has been proven to be a lie hundreds of times over.
Over time, Trump has repeatedly crossed that line, routinely visiting his properties and talking them up on television and Twitter. The most overt example came last week, when Trump said he was likely to award next year’s Group of Seven summit to his company’s Doral golf resort in Florida — a plan that would direct millions of dollars to benefit his own business.
Even with all of the obvious shoulder shrugging about the emoluments clauses through behavior, Monday is the first time Trump has openly admitted to not caring about stomping all over it.
1,005 days in, 457 to go