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  • 'Pay-for-access to Trump club': Mar-a-Lago faces renewed ethics concerns | US news

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See the news 'Pay-for-access to Trump club': Mar-a-Lago faces renewed ethics concerns | US news from Source Digital Trends on 16/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

'Pay-for-access to Trump club': Mar-a-Lago faces renewed ethics concerns | US news

At Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s waterfront winter retreat, an end-of-term air hangs over the expansive verandas and perfectly manicured lawns. In barely a month’s time, following the traditional season-closing Easter Sunday brunch gala, the private members’ club will be scrubbed and shuttered for the summer, its wealthy clientele dispersing to residences in the Hamptons or boarding their mega-yachts to cruise the Mediterranean.Trump's four 2017 Mar-a-Lago trips cost taxpayers nearly $14m, watchdog says Read more With the winding down of the annual Palm Beach social circuit comes the end of another season of controversy, scandal and ethics concerns that swirl around the exclusive resort, which drips with gold-leafed opulence and where a $200,000 “initiation fee” appears to cover the privilege of bending the president’s ear.This year’s cast of notable characters includes the Chinese former owner of a massage parlour snared in a high-profile prostitution sting, a Russian investor wanted in his home country for tax fraud and a cosmetic dentist who influenced Trump’s thinking on veterans’ care by writing policy advice on a cocktail napkin.Add to the mix last summer’s confirmation as ambassador to the Dominican Republic of Trump’s longtime friend and former insurance agent Robin Bernstein, a Mar-a-Lago founding member, and renewed concerns by ethics experts over the ease of access to and influence over Trump when he visits his resort are easy to understand.The Mar-a-Lago club has turned into a pay-for-access to the president clubRobert Weissman, Public Citizen“The Mar-a-Lago club has turned into a pay-for-access to the president club, with a president with almost no knowledge of governmental policy,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a Washington-based pro-transparency group that has criticised Trump for continuing to profit from his business operations while in office.“If you can whisper in his ear and tell him anything, he may well think it’s sensible and he may well act upon it.“There’s no reason to believe people he’s picking out of the field at Mar-a-Lago are qualified to serve as ambassadors for the US or in any governmental position but they’re paying, they have access, they’re buddying up and they get to use serious positions as casual rewards.”Of equal concern, Weissman said, is that the most powerful man in the world could be so easily manipulated by those whose credentials as policy advisers seems based solely on wealth.“Long ago presidents were very accessible and the White House was open, but even then the access wasn’t based on your ability to pay a $200,000 cover fee,” he said. “There’s absolutely no precedent for this kind of paid-for access, and there’s no precedent for a president who is so responsive to random bits of information because he has no views of his own and no background knowledge of his own.FacebookTwitterPinterest Donald and Melania Trump at Thanksgiving dinner last year. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP “If there had been a comparable situation with Barack Obama, whispering in his ear might have been important but it wouldn’t have shaped his world view or had him go off on some new path because he would have known what you were talking about. He had his own views already, and that’s just not the case with Trump.”The Trump administration appears immune to a catalogue of embarrassing headlines, among them the story of Li “Cindy” Yang, 45, the Chinese American founder of a day spa where Trump’s friend Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution, which he denies, in February.Yang, a Republican fundraiser and donor who was photographed...

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See the news 'Pay-for-access to Trump club': Mar-a-Lago faces renewed ethics concerns | US news from Source Digital Trends on 16/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.