• 21 August, 2020 5:35 pm

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Politics or business? Bannon’s arrest exposes US administration’s true nature: observer

Kathmandu August 21:
The arrest of Steve Bannon, the man who opened the White House door for Donald Trump, further exposed the true nature of the Trump administration – a troop of businessmen who treat the political arena like a business, and it will serve as a “lesson” to teach those who are not familiar with the US political sphere how dirty and corrupted that really is, said Chinese observers.

Stephen Bannon removes his mask as he exits Manhattan Federal Court following his arraignment on fraud charges over allegations that he used the money raised for “We Build The Wall” on personal expenses, on August 20 in New York. Photo: AFP

Bannon pleaded not guilty at a court hearing on Thursday (local time), after he was charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors through his “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign.

He was released later on Thursday on a $5 million bond secured by $1.7 million in cash and/or property with co-signors.

Bannon, who masterminded Trump’s run for US presidency in 2016 and was White House chief advisor, as well as three associates, were indicted in a federal investigation in the Southern District of New York. Prosecutors alleged the four defrauded donors of raising “more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States,” but some of the money was instead used for their own personal gain.

Asked about the matter on Thursday, President Trump said he felt very bad about the incident, but asserted of Bannon, “I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time,” adding that he felt the fundraising effort was “something I very much thought was inappropriate to be doing.”

“I don’t like that project,” Trump said. “I thought it was being done for showboating reasons,” the US president said, according to the Washington Post.

Bannon’s arrest encouraged heated discussions in China, where he is known as an “ardent China hawk,” and some criticized him for “using ‘anti-China’ rhetoric as a scam to make his money.”

By simple deduction, Americans should be asking the question why Trump surrounded himself with convicted and suspected criminals, as well as asking what kind of person their president really is, suggested Chinese observers.

Under the current political atmosphere in the US, politicians tend to treat politics as business, and this trait was amplified by Trump, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday. 

Li pointed out that building border wall is a “signatory” policy during Trump’s election in 2016, now the president denied all and said he doesn’t like the wall-building project.

“Maybe it will teach a lesson for those who are not familiar with US politics how dirty and corrupted the country’s political arena really is,” said Li. 

Shen Yi, an associate professor of international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai, pointed out that Bannon has made his fortune through the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign that targeted Trump’s fanbase, while his constant “bashing” of China has also gained him infamy and wealth. 

“Now we know that Trump’s team are full of ‘principles’ in terms of face, but they’re all running after profit, like a business,” said Shen.

Based on this case, one can observe that maybe no one in the Trump administration is innocent, as their tactics used to run the country and election campaign are similar to those used when running a company; that is, do whatever it takes to “seal the deal,” Zhang Tengjun, assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

Several close aides of Trump have already been thrown into prison in recent years, including ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress, financial crimes and campaign finance violations; as well as Trump’s close friend Roger Stone, who also served as campaign advisor, and was indicated of impeding judicial justice and intimidating witnesses.

Zhang said the current situation is a “backyard fire” for Trump as the country’s general election looms, while the Democrats won’t let go of this case easily; instead, they will only rachet up their efforts to “sound the alarm” of Bannon’s arrest, which will exert a heavy blow to team Trump.

“Trump is likely to sit idle and cut clean himself from his former campaign master head, due to his ‘businessman-like’ nature; I am not optimistic about Bannon’s future,” said Zhang.

Source: Global Times

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