Anonymous's Warning, and Trump's Zany Pastor and Corrupt Charity
It's Friday, so there is an overabundance of cringe-worthy Trump news and, as usual, it's a race to see if corruption or incompetence wins out.
1. Donald Trump's "charity" [the Trump Foundation] was ordered to close and pay a $2 million fine yesterday by the New York Supreme Court for "improperly using charitable assets to intervene in the 2016 presidential primaries and further his own political interests."
New York Attorney General Letetia James reported the fine yesterday saying, “The court’s decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain. My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States.”
The Court found that Trump used Foundation funds to further his 2016 political campaign, to settle legal obligations of companies he controlled, and to buy a portrait of himself that cost $10,000.
What can you say about a man who would use money donated to a charity to buy a picture of himself?
Another stipulation of the Court's decision ensures that Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump "received training on the duties of officers and directors of charities so that they cannot allow the illegal activity they oversaw at the Trump Foundation to take place again." Who, in their right mind, would ever allow any of these individuals to run a charity?
2. President Trump recently hired evangelical televangelist Paula White to work in the White House to gin-up his base for the 2020 election. Apparently Joel Osteen wasn't available.
Ms. White, who obviously purchased a bible with a few chapters missing, is an advocate for the "prosperity gospel", which teaches followers that God will bless them financially if they follow him [and donate heavily to the pastor's ministry].
She got right to work on Tuesday by seeking to protect the President from evil spirits [and Nancy Pelosi, one would assume].
Newsweek: "President Donald Trump's personal spiritual adviser, Paula White, launched a prayer effort alongside other evangelical Christian leaders on Tuesday, offering a prayer condemning the president's opponents, accusing them of being aligned with evil spirits and using sorcery."
Ms. White is controversial in Christian circles in ways that would even make Pat Robertson blush.
Washington Monthly: White and her former husband, Randy, were part of two congressional investigations, one in 2004 and another in 2007, of prosperity gospel ministries. The investigations uncovered no chargeable tax offenses, but they raised questions about her ministry’s finances. For example, between 2004 and 2007 the church paid a total of $2.755 million in compensation to their relatives, including Paula’s son and Randy’s two children, father, and sister. Randy and Paula also reportedly received $5 million a year in compensation from their church, and purchased a $3.5 million condo in Trump Tower in New York City, according to Senate documents.
3. In their new book called A Warning, "Anonymous" [the soubriquet for a senior White House official], describes the President as cruel and incompetent. That's not exactly news, but they also argue that Trump represents a substantial threat to the nation.
Washington Post: "The author argues that Trump is incapable of leading the United States through a monumental international crisis, describing how he tunes out intelligence and national security briefings and theorizing that foreign adversaries see him as “a simplistic pushover” who is susceptible to flattery and easily manipulated."
The author also includes a description of what it's like to work for the President, a description that you may find difficult to forget, no matter how hard you try.
Washington Post: “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him,” the author writes. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.”
Another Friday in the age of Trump...you laugh, you cry, you laugh, you cry.
Have a great weekend.