Trump pushed for a deal worth millions for his megadonor Sheldon Adelson — during his first time meeting Japan's prime minister since assuming office.
In February 2017, during their first meeting, Trump asked Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider helping his friend, Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, with a casino bid. Adelson contributed millions to Trump's presidential campaign.
ProPublica reports that Trump "raised Adelson’s casino bid to Abe, according to two people briefed on the meeting." The openly corrupt gambit reportedly "surprised" Japan.
A person briefed on the exchange said it was "totally brought up out of the blue" and that the Japanese delegation was "a little incredulous that he would be so brazen."
Adelson, a multi-billionaire who owns numerous casino interests, had been trying to get a foothold in Japan, a newly opened market for casinos. Access to the Japanese gambling market would be worth millions to Adelson's company.
Adelson recently briefed investors about the company's attempts to get in Japan and said, "we're in the No. 1 pole position," according to ProPublica.
Adelson donated at least $25 million to Future45, a super PAC that backed Trump's presidential campaign. He also gave $5 million to Trump's inauguration fund, along with nearly $83 million backing Republicans in the election.
Besides the Abe ask, Trump also gave in to Adelson's pet issue, and moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Trump also pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, another item on the Adelson wish list.
Corruption goes hand in hand with Trump's presidency.
His actions show that rather than "draining the swamp," as he claims he is doing, he is simply increasing the number of dirty deals associated with politics.
Adelson, like other wealthy figures, invested in Trump's political future to the tune of millions of dollars. Now Trump is making those investments payoff, using the prestige and power of the presidency for sordid secret deals.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.