In late 2017, on one of President Donald Trump’s retreats to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, he caught up with an old friend: Albert Hazzouri. Shortly after Hazzouri and Trump saw each other in late 2017, Hazzouri followed up with a message, scrawled on Mar-a-Lago stationery.
In a telephone interview, Hazzouri said he sent the note as a favor to the 163,000-member American Dental Association. He said he had only the vaguest sense of what proposal he was vouching for. “I’m really not involved in any politics, I’m just a small-time dentist,” he said.
The idea seemed to intrigue Trump. He took a thick marker and wrote on top of Hazzouri’s note, “Send to David S at the V.A.,” referring to David Shulkin, then the secretary of veterans affairs. Next to the Mar-a-Lago coat of arms, an aide stamped: “The president has seen.”
Trump sells access to the people’s government and pockets the proceeds. For 3 Mar-a-Lago members, membership fees bought them seats on a shadow board overseeing the VA. Now @ProPublica has discovered a 4th traded on his membership status with a note he addressed to “King” Donald. https://t.co/uIqbyrHHZG
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 6, 2019
Trump’s golf buddy pitched the president on an “oversight committee” for federal spending on dental care. Then he cited the project in an effort to expand his dental practice.https://t.co/YMBhtzYeZY
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 7, 2019
The President of the United States still owns and profits from a luxury resort in Florida where paying customers can give him notes, scrawled on resort stationary, that he personally forwards to cabinet secretaries https://t.co/GJbdjhpsvG pic.twitter.com/5lO0NEuo8S
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 6, 2019