Former President Donald Trump admits to allegations made by Democrats that he accepted payments from “unsavory regimes” to his real estate organization, including $5.5 million from China. The GOP frontrunner defended receiving the money at a Fox News town hall in Iowa, again skipping his rival’s presidential debate.
Speaking at a Fox News town hall that ran concurrently with the latest Republican debate, Trump defended himself from recent accusations made by a report by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. They accused him of accepting payments from foreign governments such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar during his 2017–2021 term in office.
The report accused the former president of violating the U.S. Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause after foreign officials stayed at Trump Organization hotels and apartments during his term in office. The Article One provision prohibits federal officials from accepting money from foreign governments without Congressional permission.
China spent lavishly
The January 4 report alleges that four businesses owned by the real estate mogul received $7.8 million from twenty countries during his time in office. At least $5.5 million came from China in his first two years as president.
Trump didn’t ask for permission
According to the report, the “world’s most unsavory regimes” provided the money, and the former president never asked for congressional approval to keep it, as mandated by the foreign emoluments clause.
Efforts to impeach Biden
The report was released as House Republicans attempted to impeach President Joe Biden over allegations that he benefited from his son Hunter’s foreign dealings while he was vice president, despite no evidence to back up the claims.
A fraction of the total amount
The report acknowledged that the findings were likely incomplete because it only covered half of Trump’s presidency and transactions of just four of his over five hundred businesses.
Trump skips GOP presidential debates
Speaking at the town hall he chose to attend over the GOP debate, Trump said he plans to retain his stake in his real estate empire, which is currently largely operated by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, if he wins the 2024 election. He also defended receiving money from foreign officials.
Boasts about properties
“If I have a hotel and somebody comes in from China, that’s a small amount of money,” he said. “But I was doing services for them, people were staying in these massive hotels, these beautiful hotels—because I have the best hotels and the best clubs, I have great stuff—and they stay there, and they pay.”
Potential policy influence
“I don’t get $8 million for doing nothing,” Trump added. The report, entitled White House for Sale: How Princes, Prime Ministers, and Premiers Paid Off President Trump, said that the Republican had been paid “lavishly” by foreign countries during his time in office while he made “foreign policy decisions connected to their policy agendas with far-reaching ramifications” for the U.S.
Money over Americans
“By elevating his personal financial interests and the policy priorities of corrupt foreign powers over the American public interest, former President Trump violated both the clear commands of the Constitution and the careful precedent set and observed by every previous Commander-in-Chief,” wrote Maryland Representative Jamie Raksin, the House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat.
Eric Trump blasts report
Trump Organization executive Vice President Eric Trump dismissed the report’s findings as a “joke” and claimed that the company voluntarily donated its profits from its business with foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.