What great fortune for Donald Trump, whose ascendancy to president-elect has landed him in a series of meetings that mysteriously correlate to business deals he and his family are trying to land.
Take for example, the “historic” phone call Donald Trump had with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week, the one everyone assumed was just a mistake. According to his advisers, it was actually a planned talk that had been in the works for months—just like his talks to expand his business in Taiwan have been in the works for months.
Though Trump’s camp attempted to portray the interaction as a congratulatory call placed by Ing-wen, advisers say it was actually requested by Trump well before the Republican National Convention in July. The Washington Post reports that the call “was the product of months of quiet preparations and deliberations among Trump’s advisers,” which began before he was even the nominee—a rare long-term project for Trump and his team, but one that makes sense if you take his business interests into account.
It was the first known contact between the leaders of the US and Taiwan since 1979 and a tiny orange middle finger to China, which today issued a warning to Trump that “creating troubles for the China-U.S. relationship is creating troubles for the U.S. itself.”
If the call was part of a new foreign policy, as Trump and his advisers sought to characterize it over the weekend, the break with diplomatic protocol might make sense. But it seems Trump’s business interests are intertwined with any diplomatic strategies he may be pursuing—representatives for the Trump Organization were reportedly in Taiwan in September to discuss potential investment properties, and Eric Trump is expected to visit sometime this year for business meetings.
That dovetails with another disturbing report about how Trump’s presidency is already trickling down to his family business. Take, for example, Ivanka Trump, who made a surprise and thoroughly unexplained appearance last month at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Ivanka, the New York Times pointed out this weekend, is currently negotiating a licensing deal with Sanei International, which is owned in part by the Japanese government-owned Development Bank of Japan. How fortuitous.
“I think it’s delusional to believe there’s any difference between Mr. Trump and his children on any of his extreme positions,” the billionaire Barry Diller, a Clinton supporter who has also done deals with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, wrote in a recent email to the New York Times. “They’ve had every opportunity to publicly modify them and have not done so.” Business too, it seems.