Dear Donald –
You definitely like to do things differently, I’ll give you that. This weekend, you took the Prime Minister of Japan to your golf course for the weekend to polish your diplomatic skills.
On the face of it, very productive – not wasting time with a leisurely dinner, but getting work done over a nice wedge salad. However, instead of having this working meeting in a private dining room, you had it on the members’ dining room patio, surrounded by members who paid $200,000 to join the club.
And when people pay that much money, they’re looking for access as much as anything else. That’s probably why you recently doubled membership fees – folks want access, and they’re willing to pay, so why not make a profit off of your office? The problem comes when people who pay money for access actually start to get access in questionable ways. For instance:
In general, we’re not supposed to know the name and face of the man tasked with protecting the access to our nation’s nuclear arsenal, but Mar-a-Lago members get to use him as a photo prop for a payment of $200,000 to the chief executive’s personal estate.
Even better than the access that members can get to important presidential aides is the access they buy to high level international crisis negotiations.
You see, it turns out that your working dinner was actually a discussion of the U.S.-Japan response to the North Korean missile launch. And so, in the middle of the dining room, you huddled with the Prime Minister, Steve, and your national security advisor to discuss next steps, in full view of your paying members, classified documents on the table and all.
Because the dinner was by candlelight, aides had to use the flashes on their cell phones to provide sufficient lighting for you both to see the documents. All caught on camera by paying guests.
Clearly, this raises basic security concerns. Already in the last week, there were concerns that you left classified documents in a lockbag with the key in it on your desk while people without security clearance walked around your office. This is worse because the documents aren’t in a locked bag. They’re right out there on the table for everyone to see. And the primary vetting of the people in the dining room was whether they had a few hundred grand sitting around to drop on a golf club membership.
Getting intelligence on high level national security discussions is now just as easy as bribing a waiter at your golf club.
It’s an amazing confluence of problems with your Administration so far – financial conflicts of interest, lax protocols, poor international diplomacy, and security breaches. Well done.
P.S. I’m purposefully not going to mention the statement you made that actually failed to mention the words “North Korea”, “missile,” “launch,” “U.N.,” “Security Council,” or “sanctions.” It was just that bad.