The Qatari government is reportedly aiming to purchase a $90 million stake in a major conservative news outlet in an effort to wield influence over President Donald Trump.
Politico reported Tuesday on the discussions, which have taken place on “multiple occasions this year,” according to sources familiar with the talks. Newsmax, which is run by Trump’s friend, Chris Ruddy, denies the allegations, and the Qatari government has also declined to confirm whether they are true.
But it’s not that strange of a leap to make, considering how important conservative media outlets are to Trump. The president, who has frequently touted other news agencies (such as CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and so on) as “fake news” whenever they report on negative aspects of his administration, relies upon news from the right to spin stories that favor him more generously.
Accordingly, Qatar, which had a rough start with Trump during the early months of his tenure, could almost be forgiven for trying to gain influence in the White House by the unusual means of purchasing a large stake of a news agency that the commander in chief respects.
The Middle Eastern nation has also purportedly tried to gain favor with Trump by buying up some of his properties -- so the investment isn't that unimaginable.
It does lead to problems, however, that are apparent even to the laziest of political observers. If Trump is so easily manipulated by business deals such as these, it’s a clear conflict of interest that can be exploited by others. Indeed, Trump’s many real estate dealings with Russian elites may have already resulted in the president feeling obligated to cooperate with the Kremlin when he shouldn’t.
This is a troubling pattern that’s emerging, and it must be dealt with immediately. Congress ought to consider methods to prevent Trump from being influenced by foreign governments simply because they make business deals that are to his liking.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Lucas Jackson/Reuters