Commercialization of the White House

The Associated Press is reporting Ivanka Trump secured three new exclusive trademarks in China the very same day she and her father, President Trump, had dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The China trademarks give her company the exclusive rights to sell Ivanka-branded jewelry, bags and spa services in China. The New York Times reports Japan also approved new trademarks for Ivanka for branded shoes, handbags and clothing in February, and she has trademark applications pending in at least 10 other countries. Ivanka no longer manages her $50 million company, but she continues to own it. Ivanka also serves in the Trump administration as an adviser to the president. So does her husband, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Vicky Ward talking:

that’s never happened to this country before—and, you know, the White House is turning into the Kushner piggy bank and the Trump piggy bank. the Trumps and the Kushners are real estate families and business. You know, these real estate developers are—and I wrote a book about the New York real estate world, so it’s something I’m very familiar with—they are family businesses. So, it is in a trust run by Jared Kushner’s brother, Josh. OK, so just to show you how closely everything is entwined, not only is Jared an investor in Josh, Josh is an investor in Jared. Josh’s healthcare business, Oscar, is in Jared’s building, the Puck Building.

Josh Kushner, is a very successful venture capitalist, who also started a healthcare business, Oscar, predicated on Obamacare. And its current valuation is $2.7 billion. Now, interestingly, Peter Thiel, who’s part of the sort of, you know, Kushner new businessmen, you know, the new brigade, Billionaire supporter of President Trump. Spoke at the RNC.

the crony capitalism going on inside of there. He, I think, put in—bought out the—went in and took out the entire second round of Oscar, so he’s right in there. But there is no question.

– why Jared Kushner was not there for the week of the negotiations around “repeal and replace,” that he was in Aspen?

I think you have to ask that question. In fact, it’s sort of—no one pointed it out. And, by the way, nor was Gary Cohn and Dina Powell, who are both part of the Kushner army, you know. And a lot of people were raising eyebrows. Most people, when they go to work for a White House, don’t decide to swan off on holiday during the president’s first hundred days.

Jared Kushner’s self-interest, I think, is a huge—and Ivanka’s self-interest has sort of been ignored. I mean, it’s been covered, but it’s been overcome by the noise of the other stories. But I think, increasingly now, we’re going to see it really, really matter, because it is just a story of plain, outright corruption, and it’s not legal.

he is protected by a conflicts clause, isn’t he? There’s some clause that he can hide behind. They are not supposed to do—if they’re working in the White House, to do anything that might leverage their position there for their own commercial gain. So, I would ask you—I have sources covering this every day, who say, “Well, let’s look at Ivanka.” What is she doing policy-wise? Nothing. But what she is doing is wearing clothes. She’s in a—she’s in a business that sells clothes, shoes. That’s what she does. So, what she’s doing every day is using—you know, they’re very good at public relations, Jared and Ivanka. They’ve just hired a Hollywood public relations person. I know from personal experience, having reported on them, having reported on Jared, all the leaks I—you know, every time you see a person close to Jared, that is Jared talking.

– on the Sunday night show on—when she went on and—on 60 Minutes wearing a bracelet, and the next day showing that in her 60 Minutes interview and saying, “You can buy this for $10,000.” she owns her company.

there she is charming the Chinese premier, and suddenly, oh, great, you know, great for business for Ivanka Trump in China. I think it was also reported, the Philippines, you know, she’s got trademarks there. I’ve met Robbie Antonio, the real estate developer who facilitated that. And the first time I met Robbie Antonio, all he could talk to me about

He’s this—they call him the Trump—his family, the Trumps of the Philippines. And all he could talk to me about—this was before Trump ran for president—was, you know, he’d just come off the golf course with Donald Trump. And, I mean, they’re all in awe of this family. And lo and behold

– he scandal this week, but this goes to Donald Trump, where he calls Erdogan the president of Turkey, to congratulate him on winning this referendum that leads to a dictatorship of Erdogan. at the same time that you have him last year being interviewed by Steve Bannon on Breitbart radio, saying he has a conflict of interest because he has two towers in Istanbul.

it goes on and on and on. The question is, you know, why is—sort of why are we all sitting here talking about it, and nothing being done? And perhaps, you know, time—time will tell. I mean, one thing that I’ve thought about is, for example, Jared Kushner has talked about, you know, bringing in this council of innovators. Now, it’s just not possible, in a council of innovators—it may not be a bad idea, by the way, but it’s not possible that a venture capitalist brother is going to not benefit from that.

He knows absolutely nothing. But, so, what I would say is that—so I think the self—what are these two people actually in there to do? Their only experience is working for their parents. That’s it. So, what, if it’s not—it seems to me it’s all about self-interest. They’re not—they’re not qualified to do anything else.
____

Vicky Ward
New York Times best-selling author, investigative journalist and contributor to Esquire and Huffington Post Highline magazine.

— source democracynow.org

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