Newsweek reported this week that Donald Trump, the New York billionaire who has managed to become the Republican presidential nominee this year, explored business opportunities in Cuba in the late 1990s in what appears to be a direct violation of the U.S. embargo.
Doing what he does best, denying what documents and insiders say about his activities, Donald Trump claims that since he didn’t do a deal in Cuba, he never did business there. He told New Hampshire’s NH1 News, “No, I never did anything in Cuba. I never did a deal in Cuba.”
In its very detailed article, Newsweek said that Trump’s work on the island nation was done instead by a consulting firm called Seven Arrows on behalf of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. The business Mr. Trump said he didn’t do seems to have cost the Donald about $68,000 in business expenses he reimbursed Seven Arrows for, even though the AP reports that neither Donald Trump nor the firm had sought a federal government waiver that would have allowed them to pursue such activities.
According to Kurt Eichenwald, the reporter behind the story, “Federal law at the time imposed tough restrictions against spending even a penny in Cuba, with the intent of financially starving the country, which for decades been categorized as an American enemy.”
Following his now established familiar pattern of discrediting people or publications that take issue with anything he’s said or done, the Big Orange Machine slammed Newsweek‘s Mr. Eichenwald as someone with a “bad reputation.”
Hillary Clinton, who reliable polling shows won Monday night’s first presidential debate and who will be in Toledo and Akron on Monday, is using the Newsweek report as the latest evidence that Donald Trump puts his own interests ahead of the nation’s. On her campaign plane, Hillary Clinton told reporters that “We have laws in our country,” and Trump knew what they were, the AP reported. Mr. Trump “deliberately flouted” the law and “puts his personal and business interests ahead of the laws and the values and the policies of the United States of America, she said.
Alerted about the article running in Newsweek, which sought comments or documents or an interview with Donald Trump, the magazine was ignored. “Traditionally, when campaigns, companies and other professional groups are told that a piece about them is in the works, they will contact a reporter to find out the scope of the story, even if there is no plan to give a comment,” Newsweek wrote, adding, “That way, they can have a planned response ready when the story breaks.”
Trump’s current campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on ABC’s morning talk show The View the day following the article being published, and instead of denying the report of prohibited expenditures, actually confirmed them. ““I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998,” she said, Newsweek reported in a follow-up piece about Trump lawyers saying the report wasn’t correct.