During the General Election the MAGA crowd was heavily energized by the prospect of their pick disrupting politics. As part of his persona as a swamp-drainer President Donald Trump has shown a propensity for not following protocol. He also has engaged in debateable acts that could in fact be moved to the “Swamp” side of the ledger, and even has been in direct conflict with those in his administration. During a recent set of actions he may have dipped a toe in all of those pools.
In a truly odd case, involving a flamboyant Chinese billionaire dissident, we see The President making numerous decisions and seemingly any of them are worth questioning. In many ways it is a story that typifies how 2017 has been an intellectual quagmire. We have The Chinese Ministry running around Manhattan, a Vegas billionaire using his influence in the White House, and the President ultimately cancelling the deportation once it was revealed the businessman is a member of Trump’s private club.
The center of the story-so-odd-it-would-be-denied-as-a-TV-script is a man named Guo Wengui, a Chinese land baron who is in exile from his homeland. He has vowed to bring down the current political regime in that country, and from here the story spirals out of control. Wengui considers himself the “Che Guevara of China” because — in being 180 degrees out of phase to the Cuban revolutionary — he wants to topple the communist rule in the name of capitalism.
This battle is being waged from his $70million penthouse on 5th Avenue, in Manhattan. At this stage our tale truly begins to resemble a direct-to-rental Hollywood “thriller”. It was there that this past May members of the Chinese Ministry of State Security came to visit, despite not being authorized to do so. The Chi-Com authorities were displeased with Guo, possibly for fashioning himself a social network icon in the manner of the Twitter-addicted Trump. He had been working online media to level charges against the government.
As they urged the tycoon to return with them he declined, and after ushering the Chi-Coms from his luxury condo he notified US authorities. The FBI intervened and informed the government agents they were in violation of their visas and ordered them out of the country. However days later they paid another visit to the billionaire and the FBI ended up arresting the Ministry officials, albeit briefly. Just like that bad movie script, in cliche fashion The State Department steps in and suggests the Chinese agents be released, because it feared an international crisis. For a while Guo seemed at pampered ease.
The conflict over Guo managed to rise all the way to the White House. Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas resorts owner, is a confidante of President Trump. He also has billions tied up in China with gambling properties, meaning then he also has working connections very high up with the Chinese government. Through that relationship Wynn reached out to The President to address the Wengui situation.
The two countries have no working extradition treaty. Eager to rein in Guo the Chinese had Wynn sit down with Trump at a dinner and give him a letter requesting the billionaire’s deportation. In an Oval Office meeting with Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and the Vice President, Trump proposed the deportation and even referenced Wynn’s letter specifically. The sensitivity of this act becomes evident as Wynn’s office, possibly fearing the appearance of a conflict of interest, disputed the report in The Journal. (The White House declined commenting at all.)
But just as arrangements were being made to remove Wengui back to the mainland a crisis over the flamboyant businessman erupted in the administration. Jeff Sessions was adamant about not deporting Guo. He confronted Chinese officials about reports that hacking took place regarding the application for asylum, and also the influence on social media companies like FaceBook, and YouTube, which have curtailed some of Guo’s accounts, at China’s insistence.
However Sessions has also battled officials within the Trump administration. His opposition to the deportation order was strident enough that, according to the Washington Times, he threatened to resign before backing the return of the billionaire dissident. It turns out in the end that Sessions need not tender his letter, and the White House changed its position, but for decidedly non-political reasons.
As movements were being made to send Guo back to the Chi-Coms aides to the President came to him with some pertinent information. It turns out that the targeted billionaire is a member of the hyper-exclusive club at Mar-a-Lago. This appears all that was needed to have the White House change its course, and now will allow Guo to remain in the States.
So let this be a lesson to any foreign nationals fearing deportation; to remain in the United States one need only pony up the $200,000 entry fee, and the $14,000 in annual dues, and then your safe haven here is firmly established.