The Rich Are Different: Buying Access to the President.

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File.

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File.

It’s a very old saying, the rich are different. It’s true, they are, by virtue of money, and the power money purchases. If they are different as people, it’s because money allows them to be arrogant, compassion free, unethical assholes without consequence. No, not every rich person on the planet is a truly shitty person, but they are rare birds in the flock of the rich. Rich people are accustomed to getting their way, using the time-honored method of greasing palms and opening doors with wedges of cash and promises. Now that we have someone in the white house who wouldn’t know an ethical behaviour if it bit him on the balls, the slime trail of the rich is visible from space.

According to a New York Times piece published on Saturday, Trump’s son Eric told the newspaper that Mar-a-Lago admits about 20 to 40 new members each year. Considering that Mar-a-Lago raised its initiation fees to $200,0000 after Trump’s presidential inauguration, that’s up to $8 million dollars coming in from new members per year. And that doesn’t include taxes or the $14,000 charge for each member’s annual dues.

Trump and his closest advisers have repeatedly denied there’s anything improper about Trump’s members-only club in Palm Beach. They say it doesn’t amount to paying for access to President Trump because the club is social, not political. And they argue the powerful people who pay for membership have other avenues of communicating with the president.

That’s an argument? I fail to see it.

“He has not and will not be discussing policy with club members,” White House spokesperson Holly Hicks said in a statement provided to the New York Times.

But reporting from the Times and from Politico suggests otherwise.

Real estate executive Bruce Toll told the New York Times that he does occasionally discuss national policy issues — specifically, Trump’s plans to increase spending on infrastructure projects — when he sees Trump at Mar-a-Lago. According to Toll, Trump sometimes receives advice from other club members about what he should do policy-wise.

Developer Richard LeFrak, a close friend of Trump’s, recounted a discussion at Mar-a-Lago last weekend during which Trump asked him for help with the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump was unhappy with the projected cost of the wall, wanted to come up with a way to build it more cheaply, and suggested that the head of the Department of Homeland Security would give LeFrak a call to talk about it.

And according to an audio tape obtained by Politico from one of Trump’s New Jersey clubs that was also published on Saturday, Trump has asked his club members for their guidance selecting his cabinet appointees.

“We were just talking about who we [are] going to pick for the FCC, who [are] we going to pick for this, who we gonna accept — boy, can you give me some recommendations?” Trump said to a member, according to the tape.


This weekend, Trump is planning to use Mar-a-Lago to meet with potential candidates he’s considering to fill the National Security Adviser position recently vacated by Michael Flynn.

Of course, it’s not unusual for world leaders to surround themselves with rich and powerful people. But it is unique to be able to pay $200,000 for entry into a private club where multiple sources close to the president have confirmed he’s at his most relaxed and ready to mingle.

Applications to Mar-a-Lago have surged since Trump won the presidency.

Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have demanded more information about who holds a membership at Mar-a-Lago and how closely they have been vetted. The urgency increased after last weekend, when Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed a potential North Korea crisis in full view of the diners and waiters at his club.

Trump has spent the past three weekends at Mar-a-Lago even though he promised during the campaign that he would “rarely leave the White House.”

The system of government in the States has always been susceptible to corruption, it’s not the most well thought out system. I would say that no sitting president has ever been as open to corruption, and so willing to embrace it in full view of the public at large as the Tiny Tyrant. Donny isn’t capable of governing, he isn’t even capable of running a proper business, and hates being in the white house, acting as president. No, he only feels capable when he’s immersed in the foul cronyism of the monied, who he can slither over to for ‘advice’ on how to president, as he is utterly bankrupt when it comes to the little things, like intelligence, planning, and knowledge.

Via Think Progress.


  1. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    All of these people paying for access to Trump cannot have the same agenda.
    He will be making contradictory promises to everyone and pissing-off more and more rich idiots…
    I can’t really imagine where this is going.

  2. says

    No, neither can I, at least not in specifics. All anyone can say right now is that the clusterfuck is going to get much more clusterfuckery.

  3. cubist says

    The Angry Cheeto probably will be tailoring his spiel to the specific person he’s spieling at—this is pretty much his lifelong MO, after all. So what? The Cheeto doesn’t give a flying fuck about governance, or consistent policy, or even whether or not whatever he’s saying at the moment is true. The Angry Cheeto is all about the Angry Cheeto; all he cares about is transferring cash from the pockets of other people, into his pocket. The rich schmucks who pay the Cheeto for access… well, they’ve paid, haven’t they? The moment the Cheeto stops giving a fuck about what any of those guys think, is the moment their check clears.

    One might argue that the Cheeto’s propensity for shafting his contractors doesn’t mean that he’s also gonna shaft the rich dudes who are paying for access to the President. If one did make that argument, one would be assuming that the Cheeto gives a shit about anyone or anything but his own orange-skinned self. Somehow, I don’t think that assumption is valid.

  4. says

    Cubist, thing is, it’s been reported, by numerous insiders, that Trump is relying on these cronies for advice on how to fucking president. Shouldn’t need saying, that’s a serious fuckin’ problem.

  5. Dunc says

    All of these people paying for access to Trump cannot have the same agenda.

    Not it its entirety, perhaps, but I’ll wager there’s a lot of overlap. The rich are really good at class solidarity.

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