“We’ve had a lot of Spanish-speaking workers. I say, ‘Thank Heaven for them.’ We’d be a lot further from recovering if it weren’t for them.”
As we’ve been told, Mexico and Central America are sending “not their best” across the border into the U.S. We are being overwhelmed by drug gangsters and rapists, according to the current occupant of the White House. Well, maybe not overwhelmed, exactly.
A new recovery-and-reconstruction work force has developed to keep pace with the more frequent and more severe weather events. (Nothing to do with climate change!) Like migrant agricultural workers following the crops, this emerging workforce is also mobile, following disasters: New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Houston after Harvey; North Carolina after Florence; Florida after Irma and Michael. Much of the cleanup and rebuilding is the work of laborers and craftspeople who entered the country illegally.
At least 24 White House and federal staffers stayed at Mar-a-Lago during the Xi visit… at $546 per room per night.
The Trump Organization multiple times has made use of a time-honored business strategy: bleed the business for personal enrichment and then stiff the investors, contractors, suppliers and any other entity owed money by employing bankruptcy proceedings. Although the Organization has had multiple business failures – Airlines, University, Steaks, to name only a few – bankruptcy seems to be the preferred tactic for dying entertainment businesses. The Plaza Hotel and multiple casino operations have ended in bankruptcy courts.
Other hospitality properties manage to appear solvent: the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC (that caused many of us to learn what the “emoluments clause” in the Constitution is) and the Westchester Golf Club (where they are shocked, shocked! at accusations that undocumented employees were forced to work off the clock).
ProPublica recently reported on a paid-by-taxpayers $1,000 charge at the the soon-to-be literally underwater Mar-a-Lago resort, a tiny example of the business strategy keeping the operation metaphorically afloat. $1,000? No big deal; it’s a nearly insignificant amount. But it illustrates the overall symbiosis between government expenditures and the personal enrichment of the current occupant of the White House.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mar-a-Lago in April 2017 for a two-day summit. Later in the evening after the lavish state dinner, a group, including Steve Bannon who says he doesn’t drink and doesn’t remember anything about it, found its way to the resort’s Library Bar – presided over by a portrait on the wall titled “The Visionary.” (You-know-who dressed in tennis whites.) The group dismissed the bartender; the Secret Service guarded the door.
Six days later, Mar-a-Lago presented a bill for $1,006 – $838 for liquor plus 20% gratuity – with no documentation of who was there and what was the nature of the meeting. The State Department declined to pay and forwarded it to the White House, which of course did pay.
This week our President hosted Xi Jinping, President of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. What better place to have high-level discussions between world leaders than at an ostentatious, soon-to-be-underwater, private club in Palm Beach Florida that boasts our President’s brand? And where, allegedly, no visitor logs are kept.