Projection sums up the entire four years of Donald Trump’s chaotic administration in that while he and his cohorts were trying to convince the world that Joe Biden was tied financially in some way to Ukraine and China, his administration was bought and paid for by foreign interests. In addition to cash outlays to Team Trump, Steve Bannon’s international bloc of fascist parties and individuals contributed in kind with social media gaslighting and other propaganda campaigns designed to perpetuate unfounded rumor on Biden, Covid-19, and other subjects.
In his Farewell Address in 1796, President George Washington voiced his concerns about foreign interference in U.S. political affairs, writing: “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
Washington urged future America to avoid all “foreign entanglements.”
Alexander Hamilton is believed to have penned an admonition against foreign interference in U.S. politics in The Federalist No. 68, which stated, “The desire [of] foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our counsels” opened the door for corruption and is “one of the most deadly adversaries of republican government.”
Those warnings completely fall on deaf ears as far as Trump and Bannon are concerned. Although many foreign governments are now avoiding lavish spending on Trump’s failing commercial properties, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, Bannon continues to rely on foreign financial infusions for his far-right propaganda efforts, including his media operations funded by expatriate Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, a paid-up member in good standing of Mar-a-Lago.
Bannon was even the honorary chairman of the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), although he is neither Hindu or Indian. The RHC was founded by Chicago businessman Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, someone who supported Trump and maintained close links to Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP party. Kumar was also close to Ajit Singh Randhawa, the father of former South Carolina governor and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. Kumar became the largest funder of Haley’s gubernatorial campaign.
Kumar served as chairman of the Trump campaign’s Indian Advisory Board and successfully encouraged Trump to take an extreme stance toward Muslims, whether or not they were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This was in line with Modi’s political slant, as well as Bannon’s and Trump adviser Stephen Miller. In total, the Kumar family donated some $4 million to the Trump campaign in 2016, which helped cement Trump’s pro-India and anti-Pakistan and anti-China foreign policy views. Kumar also helped organize a huge gala for Modi at Houston’s NRG Center on September 22, 2019. The event, billed as the “Howdy Modi” bash was sponsored by the Texas India Forum and Trump appeared on stage with Modi to thousands of Indian-Americans, who were also deep pocketed donors to the Trump campaign. It was a naked endorsement of Trump by Modi and his fascist-oriented Bharatiya Janata Party.
Similar close links surfaced with regard to Trump, his campaign, and his administration’s financial and political links to Russia, Saudi Arabia, pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (Trump 2016 Inaugural Committee chairman Tom Barrack was recently indicted for failing to register as a foreign agent for the UAE and for lying to the FBI), Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.
Repeated attempts by Congress to close campaign finance loopholes that permit foreign money to flow into the campaign coffers of American political candidates have met with failure. For the most part, it has been Trump loyalists in the U.S. Senate, many there due to foreign money helping to pay for their seats, that have deep-sixed repeated bills originating in both the House and the Senate designed to stop foreign money infusion into U.S. campaigns. Other proposed bills that would curb foreign propaganda interference in U.S. political campaigns, mainly through social media and other influence operations, have met with quick deaths in the Senate. Such provisions are included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, but the sweeping voting rights bill failed to pass in the Senate due to Republican and some Democratic opposition.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).