Over the weekend, there were a flurry of stories about how Donald Trump and his family are already using the presidency to leverage his overseas businesses as well as his new DC hotel. Well, now there’s more. This time in Argentina.
Here’s the background.
For a number of years, Trump and his Argentine partners have been trying to build a major office building in Buenos Aires. The project has been held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials and various permitting requirements.
According to a report out of Argentina, when Argentine President Mauricio Macri called President-Elect Trump to congratulate him on his election, Trump asked Macri to deal with the permitting issues that are currently holding up the project.
This comes from one of Argentina’s most prominent journalists, Jorge Lanata, in a recent TV appearance. Lanata is quoted here in La Nacion, one of Argentina’s most prestigious dailies. Said Lanata: “Macri called him. This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires, it wasn’t just a geopolitical chat.”
(For Spanish speakers, here’s the original Spanish we’ve translated: “Macri llo llamó. Todavía no se contó pero Trump le pidió que autorizaran un edificio que él está construyendo en Buenos Aires, no fue solo una charla geo política.”)
Separately, Trump’s business partner on the project, Felipe Yaryura, was there on election night at the Trump celebration in New York City.
Why aren’t we hearing about this in the American press?
Well, remember, no one knew anything about the visit from Trump’s Indian business partners until it appeared in the Indian press either. It seems like this is likely happening on many fronts. It’s just being hidden from the American press. We only hear about it when it bubbles to the surface in the countries where Trump is pushing his business deals.
Late Update 2:32 PM: Both President Macri and President-Elect Trump have denied that they discussed Trump’s building project during their post-election phone conversation.
Later Update: 2:48 PM: We received this statement from the Trump campaign: “Any reports alleging a discussion about personal business interests between President-elect Trump and President Macri are completely untrue. The Argentine President and his office have also refuted these baseless claims.”
Even Later Update 2:53 PM: And now a full statement from the Embassy of Argentina: “That issue was not part of the conversation between president Mauricio Macri and president-elect Donald Trump. The subject both leaders talked about was the institutional relationship, and they briefly mentioned the personal relationship they have had for years”.