The President* Is Tap Dancing on the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution


WASHINGTON – On Monday, there was a hilarious moment at the daily White House press briefing that did not involve Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The administration*’s second-string prevaricator, Raj Shah, came out and he was asked about the latest example of how this presidency* is such a marvelous environment for coincidence.

Over the weekend, you may recall, the president* leaped onto the electric Twitter machine to announce that the United States would be helping Chinese communications giant ZTE find relief from his own trade policies. Casual observers noted that the Trump Organization is involved in a huge project in Indonesia—golf courses, resorts, etc.—that is backed with $500 million from China. This came up at the Monday briefing, as did the obvious fact that the project pretty much does yet another tap-dance on the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

Noah Bierman of the Los Angeles Times was particularly curious on this score, and on how this project squares with the president*’s promise not to engage in any new foreign enterprises while he was in office. This was the answer Shah gave him.

Bierman followed up. Here was the next answer.

This stinks to high heaven. William of Ockham is very clean-shaven this morning, and there’s no fun in following the money if it isn’t even going to bother to hide.