What Donald Trump Would Do for $1 Billion

Not to spend too much time writing about Donald Trump this week, but I was struck by this report in The Washington Post on the former president’s recent overtures to oil executives. After hearing one executive during an event last month at his Mar-a-Lago club complain about supposedly burdensome environmental regulations promulgated by the Biden administration, Trump made a proposition.

The rest of the story goes on to describe Trump’s plans to gut the federal government’s response to climate change and facilitate more and greater fossil fuel extraction.

This would be a generational setback on climate change, a large and disastrous mortgage on the future so that oil and gas giants could fill their coffers for just a little bit longer before they are overtaken by clean energy.

I’m obviously angered by the blatant disregard for the planet and its inhabitants. But I’m also struck by the in-your-face brazenness of Trump’s reported quid pro quo. This is more than the hint of corruption; it is the overpowering scent of the rotting corpse of corruption. It is influence trading of the sort that would embarrass a Boss Tweed or a Roscoe Conkling, whose “honest graft” came with at least the pretense of pursuing the public good.

Even more striking than Trump’s corruption, however, is the fact that we seem to be completely unfazed by the fact that the former president has apparently offered to sell his prospective administration to fossil fuel interests. That might be because, from the beginning of his term to its end, Trump was a font for corruption while in office. His hotel, located just down the street from the White House, was a clearinghouse for anyone who wanted to buy a favor. His daughter and son-in-law may not have accomplished much as presidential advisers, but they walked away from the administration with upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars in new wealth. And six months after leaving the White House, Jared Kushner secured a $2 billion investment from a fund led by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

If Trump’s latest instance of corruption isn’t a campaign-ending scandal, it may be because it is nothing new. Trump is corrupt to his bones and now that appears to be as noteworthy as the weather.

What I Wrote

My Tuesday column was on the litmus test Donald Trump has for anyone vying to be his running mate:

My Friday column was on the notion that Trump somehow benefits from efforts to hold him accountable (I told you I wrote a lot about Trump this week):

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