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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Get over what? Foreign policy or partisan shakedown

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday. Credit: Getty Images/Win McNamee

On a day when it would have been nice to hear the commander-in-chief signal just a bit of devotion to the national interest, President Donald Trump let it be known that his private company will host the next Group of Seven summit outside Miami.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Trump's Doral resort will host the event.  

This came in a bizarre news conference where Mulvaney also acknowledged that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in part because it wasn't carrying out an investigation  he wanted.

“I have news for everybody: Get over it,” Mulvaney said. “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy  . . . That’s going to happen. Elections have consequences, and foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.”

But was this foreign policy — or a partisan shakedown?

Either way, whether it's in private commerce or his mudslinging tactics, Trump clearly keeps his own interests in mind. 

Even more evidence of this arrived Thursday.

Trump-contributor-turned-ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed during the House impeachment inquiry that Trump delegated U.S. policy on Ukraine to personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani's own interests on behalf of private clients who operate in the region may, of course, differ from those of the State Department.

Sondland denied knowing at the outset that Giuliani may have primarily tried “to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.”

During his “get over it” appearance, Mulvaney said Trump had been dissatisfied Ukraine's wasn’t inquiring into the origins of the Russia investigation on the US president’s behalf.

As for the G-7 locale, Mulvaney said, “Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” without revealing what other locales were considered. Trump first suggested Doral, Mulvaney said. 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration was still trying to clean up fallout from its sudden Syria withdrawal that left Kurdish U.S. allies vulnerable to attack by Turkey.

Vice President Mike Pence announced in Ankara that Turkey had agreed to pause its push into Syria for five days while Kurdish fighters would be able to withdraw.

Trump has drawn verbal fire over what past Republican partisans would have called a "cut and run" withdrawal — one that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan happened to want.

For three years it has been an intriguing question how far Trump would go to acquiesce to Erdogan's ambitions.

Trump's first national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who had been in business with agents of the Turkish government, initially spoke up as unabashedly for Erdogan as Trump did for Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.

When Flynn was gone, it was recently reported, Giuliani took up the cause of having a cleric whom Erdogan regards as an enemy deported from Pennsylvania. Giuliani has so far denied this.

For now, anyone who wants Trump's assurances that "America first" doesn't really mean "Me first" will need to wait.

Or just get over it.

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