While the media is fawning all over the fact that once again, we are at war, Donald Trump is laughing all the way to the bank. He just made himself richer, along with getting the media attention and the probable boost in opinion polls for the flailing administration.
After the attack, not too surprisingly, defense contractor Raytheon’s (the company that made the missiles he lobbed) stock went up. Trump owns some of those stocks.
JUST IN: Shares of Tomahawk cruise missile maker Raytheon up 2.1 percent in premarket trade after U.S. missile strike in Syria.
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) April 7, 2017
For Trump, it’s likely that getting richer was just a happy coincidence. Right now, what matters most to him is that all of a sudden, he’s a golden boy. Trump has received a heavy stream of praise, even from what he calls the “fake,” a.k.a., mainstream, media.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that Donald Trump is always in want of praise from his television. Though other presidents have been busy with the job of being president, cable news — and tweeting about what he’s watching on cable news — is the centerpiece of Trump’s morning and evening routines. It’s clear that what the media cover and how they portray him has a tremendous influence on Trump: This week, the pictures of Tuesday’s chemical attack by Syria played a crucial role in Trump’s decision to order a missile strike Thursday against a Syrian airfield. The president’s sensitivity to his media image makes it all the more important for outlets to be cautious in their coverage of the missile strike and its aftermath.
Source: Washington Post
While we don’t yet have polling numbers, throwing bombs, even without congressional approval, is nearly guaranteed to pull Trump out of his freefall with the American public.
Declaring war for popularity isn’t illegal, but declaring war for profit is. That doesn’t seem to matter to many Americans, though. Dick Cheney was a major shareholder in the defense contractor Halliburton during the build up to and during part of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When he cashed in in 2005, he made a $6.9 million profit, which he donated to his charity and got to write that money off on his taxes.
If Halliburton and its shareholders lost money at the time, not so Cheney. In the five years he worked at the company, he received $12.5m in salary. He also held $39m-worth of stock options when he quit the company in 2000 – a fortune for a man with no previous experience in running a multinational company. In addition, Halliburton’s board of directors voted to award him early retirement when he quit his job, even though he was too young to qualify under his contract. That flexibility enabled him to leave with a retirement package, including stock and options, worth millions more than if he had simply resigned. Plus, Halliburton paid out Cheney an extra $1m during the time he served as vice-president.
Cheney cashed in his remaining stock options gradually, starting with selling 100,000 Halliburton shares in May 2000, for an immediate profit of $3m. In 2005, Cheney exercised most of what remained of his Halliburton stock options for a $6.9m profit, all of which he donated to charity. (Most of it was donated to the Richard B Cheney Cardiac Institute at George Washington University.)
Source: The Guardian
In other words, there’s precedent that Americans tend to look the other way over corporate greed and even war profiteering. Trump just increased his value in the only two currencies he understands, popularity and money. Watch for more wars in these next four years.
Featured image via Pool/Getty Images.