President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would immediately abandon the Kurds in Syria who helped combat ISIS shocked members of his own party, administration and the military. Most critics point to Turkey being unchecked in their attacks against Kurdish forces if once the US abandons their allies.
Many asked why the President would take such an action, but Trump appeared to already answer that question in December 2015 in an interview for Breitbart News. When asked then about Syria and Turkey, Trump responded:
“I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s a tremendously successful job.”
“It’s called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one—it’s two. And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well.”
“They’re amazing people, they’re incredible people. They have a strong leader.”
Listen to Trump’s remarks here at the beginning of his Breitbart interview.
At the time, that strong leader was Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is still President of Turkey.
Trump told Brietbart in 2015 what lots of people are thinking today — that he has a “conflict of interest” when it comes to Turkey. https://t.co/toB5iORyQL
— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) October 8, 2019
At what point DIDN’T you know that Trump uses the U.S. Government as his own personal piggy bank?
— Renee Shatanoff (@ReneeVoiceBrand) October 8, 2019
Trump’s admission in 2015 ties into a frequent criticism of his presidency: Trump administration policy focuses more on personal profits or personal interests for the Trump family than international diplomacy and what is best for the United States and its allies.
On the one-year anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi’s death, here’s a reminder that Donald Trump has a serious Saudi Arabian conflict of interest.
“They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them?” https://t.co/Efg1WjNVbq
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) October 2, 2019
Also, isn’t Turkey in possession of all the details of Jamal Khoshogi’s execution? Presumably including Kushner & Drumpf’s participation? Quite a cudgel to hold over their heads…
— Tina Ann Armato (@tinamomtobj) October 8, 2019
It’s almost as if the $hitgibbon values personal gain over human life and America’s best interests
— Classica Blue 🆘 (@ClassicaBlue) October 8, 2019
People quickly agreed with the President’s 2015 self-assessment.
To understand Trump’s kowtowing to the Turks, follow the money to his “little conflict of interest” in Istanbul—two “major, major” Trump Towers. He betrays allies&national interest—all over the world, again&again—to pursue dollars, political gain&ego. https://t.co/Fp5kt4UBeu
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) October 8, 2019
“ ‘I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,’ Trump said last year. ‘It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two.’ ”https://t.co/ezMoO25eVD
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) October 7, 2019
The ongoing overseas business dealings of the Trumps pose conflict-of-interest concerns. Each of the Trump Org’s foreign relationships carries its own ethical baggage, because foreign governments can attempt to use these ventures to influence Trump. https://t.co/BThuY1S1z3
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) October 8, 2019
Yet again, we have to ask if the president made an American foreign policy decision with his personal interests—financial or political—in mind. In this case, he’s already publicly admitted a conflict of interest. https://t.co/yopFHIlOuO
— Jack Holmes (@jackholmes0) October 7, 2019
Reminder that the reason Trump is willing to empower ISIS and betray the Kurds (opening them up to slaughter) is because he has massive business interests in Turkey. https://t.co/RAjGyiANSw
— Justin Horwitz (@Progressive_Pol) October 7, 2019
And, of course, there is always a tweet.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 7, 2019
In December 2015, amidst a heated presidential primary, Trump said in a radio interview he had “a little conflict of interest” in Turkey.
He has quite a bit of interest there:https://t.co/zIDREkP2oS
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) October 7, 2019
As with his past tweets, President Donald Trump’s words continue to come back to bite him. How far loose lips will sink this ship remains to be seen.
The book Deconstructing Trump: The Trump Phenomenon Through the Lens of Quotation History is available here.