Late Night Open Thread: Florida Men of the GOP

They hate women and fear immigrants, or maybe it’s the other way around. But money, and the people who possess it — *that* they love & respect…

The woman who snapped the blurry Super Bowl selfie with the president was Li Yang, 45, a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida. Over the years, these establishments — many of which operate under the name Tokyo Day Spas — have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.

Nineteen days after Trump and Yang posed together while rooting for the Patriots, authorities would charge Kraft with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter that Yang had founded more than a decade earlier…

In a brief phone interview, Yang said she and her family have never broken the law, but did not answer questions about whether she knew of the allegations that therapists in her spas were offering sex. She added that she was out of the business, would soon be moving to Washington, D.C., and didn’t want any negative press.

Before the 2016 general election, Yang offered no evidence of political engagement. She hadn’t voted in 10 years, records showed. But she has now become a fixture at Republican political events up and down the East Coast. Her Facebook is covered in photos of herself standing with President Trump, his two sons, Eric and Donald Jr., Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott, Sarah Palin, the president’s campaign manager and an assortment of other high-level Republican operators she has met at charity events, political fundraisers and galas, many of which require hefty donations to attend. She sometimes carries a rhinestone encrusted MAGA clutch purse.

Yang has shown considerable political largesse. Since 2017, she and her close relatives have contributed more than $42,000 to Trump Victory, a political action committee, and more than $16,000 to the president’s campaign…







77 replies
  1. 1
    Mike in NC says:

    Hey, without massage parlors guys like Seb Gorka and Matt Gaetz wouldn’t have a love life.

  2. 2
    HypersphericalCow says:

    “Why do all these criminals keep taking selfies with me?”

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Would it be crass to say that Li Yang, um, gets around?

  4. 4
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Just when you think this bunch can’t get much more sordid, you realize you were way to optimistic .

  5. 5
    Keith P. says:

    Well, duhhhh. I live in Houston, land of a million rub-n-tugs….one is even at the entrance to my neighborhood in suburbia. I’ve even got a few friends who do/used to frequent them. There’s an Asian one downtown where my friend told me the have never been busted “because they make sure to pay Johnny on time”…it’s not really hidden, and all that really happens is that every year or so HPD busts a set of them.

  6. 6
    Suzanne says:

    Blah. Today has been a hard day. I felt crappy and left work and went to the doctor. Everything is fine with Boog but I was scared. Had to get a glucose test, so had to fast in the morning and then drink a bottle of grossness. Then had to run around town getting Spawn the Elder registered at his new school. I’m feeling the kind of fatigue and weariness that comes from an extended period of frantic activity and stress, and it doesn’t go away with a nap or a night of good sleep. I need a staycation in my house, with no chores to do. Fat-ass chance.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    When I’m president, brothels spas will be socialized. Handicare for All.

  8. 8
    Jay says:

    @Keith P.:

    The issue with the Orchids of Asia/Tokyo rub and tugs is not that they exist, but that they exist off of sex slavery and human trafficing.

  9. 9
    Doug R says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Hey, without massage parlors guys like Seb Gorka and Matt Gaetz wouldn’t have a love life.

    Chinese pimps and Russian gun rights advocates spies.

  10. 10
    JoyceH says:

    Has any government or news organization ever done a really thorough investigation into that Trump modeling agency? Since their business model seemed to be recruiting underage girls from Eastern Europe and bringing them over here away from any family or support structure, it always struck me that trafficking would be a simple add-on.

  11. 11
    Another Scott says:

    Charlie Pierce has this story, too. As I noted downstairs, they’re all in on the grift. All of them.

    Feel better soon Suzanne!

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    For the lawyers among us, a friend of mine discovered a new blog: Lowering the Bar. It’s pretty much what it says on the label:

    http://loweringthebar.net/2019/03/succubustic.html

  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Anne Laurie is too classy to include this one, but I’m not!

    Rick Wilson @ TheRickWilson
    This is so cute! I’ll bet this Dan Bongino story has a happy ending!

    Bongino replies with what may be a threat to blackmail Wilson, or may just be a scream of incoherent rage

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Everyone knows the word is “succubine.”

  15. 15
    SP123 says:

    Perhaps skip the C.R.E.A.M. tag on this one?

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    @Suzanne:

    Oh boy. I remember feeling like that. Hope you can get some rest this weekend. I hope you feel better.

  17. 17

    There’s no fucking bottom to these people [sic]. These are the worst people on Earth.

    On another note, are we about due for one of those writers’ threads? I could use some advice.

  18. 18
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Suzanne: I remember the glucose test. Yuck is right.

    Then I failed by ONE measly point and was put on an extremely strict diet and was hungry all the time. Ah, memories.

  19. 19
    SFAW says:

    So, it looks like this “Traitor-in-Chief being pals/business partners with a human trafficking queenpin” story will finally, at last, be the last straw which causes his supporters to turn on him.

    I tell ya, I crack myself up sometimes.

  20. 20
    Suzanne says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I was looking up the full list of Nobel Peace Prize laureate yesterday, and I commented to Mr. Suzanne that I have seen four of them speak in person. Then he asked me who is the worst person I’ve ever seen in person, and I replied that it is our fucking POTUS.

    Every one of these people are human garbage.

    I haven’t really had the emotional wherewithal to deal with it in the past few weeks or so, but I can’t pretend that he doesn’t exist forever.

  21. 21
    debbie says:

    Does Melania know?

  22. 22
    Suzanne says:

    @Ohio Mom: I failed the glucose test last time and they made me take a more sophisticated test. Made me drink the shit, drew my blood immediately afterward, then drew my blood once an hour for the next three hours. Both arms hurt. I brought a book.

  23. 23
    Keith P. says:

    @Jay: I didn’t say they issue is that they exist. The issue is that Asian “massage” parlors are way more common than most people probably thing, and they very often do it with the blessing (via $$$) of the local law enforcement. This kind of story is good because it shines more light on the issue and forces politicians to come down on police to crack down – they just have to sustain it, not just shut a few down and hope everyone’s satisfied.

  24. 24
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yep, that pretty much epitomizes the level of “humor” one would expect from a law firm partner. Good thing he’s kept his day job.

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    @debbie:

    Yeah, Cohen told her. Again.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @debbie: from day one, Melania knew

    The “Melania is hurt/furious” stories crack me up, even though I believe they’re more part of a legal strategy than PR.

    I just checked google, six years passed between Marla and Melania. I doubt she was the first one he tried to hire, she was the first one who agreed. Will I live long enough to see that pre-nup? Does Tiffany know where it is? She’s gonna be the one to write the book, I’d bet many quatloos on that.

  27. 27
    Suzanne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Melania DGAF. Their marriage is a transaction. Whatever. I don’t care. They just pretend that they love one another and that her feelings are hurt by his bullshit to maintain the fiction for the evangelicals.

  28. 28
    HinTN says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not until I read to the bitter end, no, I did not. But I am now much enlightened. It’s a delightful adjectival.

  29. 29
    zhena gogolia says:

    I posted this on a dead thread downstairs, so repeating: Based on my non-BJ-reading acquaintances and friends, the phrase “otherwise blameless life” has penetrated the NPR-CNN-whatever bubble. Everybody has been quoting it to me all day long with disgusted expressions.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Doug R:

    Chinese pimps and Russian [gun rights advocates] spies.

    What are the odds that she is a spy for China, collecting kompromat on the rich and famous that get serviced at her establishment? If not yet, she can be squeezed when her government takes an interest.

  32. 32
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Suzanne: Feel better. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to feel that way with kids. It’s all I can do to manage a (wonderful and loving) dog. Perhaps I need a vacation, or a staycation, myself, but fat-ass chance for me as well.

  33. 33
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Keith P.:

    The issue is that Asian “massage” parlors are way more common than most people probably thing, and they very often do it with the blessing (via $$$) of the local law enforcement. This kind of story is good because it shines more light on the issue and forces politicians to come down on police to crack down – they just have to sustain it, not just shut a few down and hope everyone’s satisfied.

    Quoted for truth!

    It’s a corollary of Trump’s hiring of undocumented immigrants to work at his various properties. The problem is not that ‘the illegals are stealing our jerbs’, it’s that Trump is making bank by hiring (underpaying) the people he simultaneously uses as boogeymonsters in his speeches. The workers at Trump’s clubs deserve to be treated like people, and so do the workers at the massage parlors.

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    Ah, this is starting to make more sense: rather than just wandering into just any old two-bit massage joint, the billionaire sports mogul instead got a rec about a specific place in Florida from his buddies in the conservative asshole circuit.

    Who knows — maybe she offered Kraft a comp.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Millard Filmore: The Chinese rub and tug spas are all Chinese organized crime fronts. The ones from other Asian societies are fronts for their own organized crime groups. Or they’re Chinese organized crime fronts using a non-Chinese reference. Which is why Madame Yang’s current spas are named for Tokyo, which is Japanese.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    Somebody please fire the scriptwriter, stat.

    Management

  37. 37
    different-church-lady says:

    @SP123: PHRASING!

  38. 38
    Brickley Paiste says:

    I find it revealing when people mock where I came from, & say they’re going to “send me back to waitressing,” as if that is bad or shameful. It’s as though they think being a member of Congress makes you intrinsically “better” than a waitress. But our job is to serve, not rule.

    Fucking fantastic.

    https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1104069510238269440

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I didn’t know that Ben Carson could actually open his eyes this wide. Where exactly is Madame Yang’s other hand?

  40. 40
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I wish that the next time Trump or one of his fiends calls Cohen a liar, someone would shoot back, “Because that’s what you paid him to do!”

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And here she is with another Chinese organized crime front!

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    @Suzanne:
    You know, I can imagine her saying “Die go a fire!” so well played.

  43. 43
    SFAW says:

    “Dems are just as bad”

    — Every Rethug-tugging pundit

  44. 44
    NotMax says:

    C’mon. After a hard day spent executive timing, one needs stress release. //

  45. 45
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ha, I knew Dr. PumpkinHead’s pic would draw you out!

    (Actually considered sending you these tweets… but I couldn’t resist using them myself :})

  46. 46
    HumboldtBlue says:

    The Yorkshire accent, ladies and gentleman.

    Right good.

  47. 47
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Cocaine Elaine

  48. 48
    Jay says:

    @Keith P.:

    The only thing anybody cares about up here, in regards to the “rub and tugs” are that the workers are there of their own volition, that health and safety is followed for both the workers and customers health, that the workers are properly paid, that they arn’t drug fronts, and that the books are kept properly.

    The key issue with Tokyo Rose/Asian Orchid, is that:
    – the women are internationally trafficed sex slaves
    – working and living in unsanitary conditions
    – unpaid and abused
    – some are probably children.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Handicare for All.

    Baud! H4A! 2020!

  50. 50
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    @Millard Filmore:

    That was my first thought when we learned Robert Kraft was on tape; was this law enforcement video or did detectives find preexisting hidden cameras and tapes when they raided?

    Either way, LOL as the young folks say!

  51. 51
    Jay says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge:

    The investigation started as an investigation into sex slavery, not an illegal sex service.

    In would guess that the Police set up surveillance .

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Anne Laurie: No worries. I’d already seen them. Honestly, I largely just ignore him. He’s really not worth anyone’s time.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: I guarantee they’re shipping much more than that on behalf of both the PRC and the triads.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge: It is unclear from the reporting whether law enforcement placed cameras when they went in under cover or if the surveillance was in place by the owners of the spas. Or a combination of the two.

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    My God! We’ll need a SUPER tall wall to deal with this much trafficking!

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Aleta says:

    Some good news

    (WaPo, by Maria Sacchetti) In a legal blow to the Trump administration, a federal judge ruled Friday that all migrant families separated during the government’s border crackdown should be included in a class-action lawsuit. But he stopped short of immediately ordering the Justice Department to track them all down.

    U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in California said the universe of separated families should extend beyond the 2,700-plus children taken from their parents last spring, and include families forced apart as early as July 1, 2017, and the months afterward, when the Trump administration was denying that it had a policy of separating families.

    Sabraw said a government watchdog report in January that potentially thousands more families were separated than the Trump administration had admitted publicly compelled the court to look into the matter.

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Among other things.

  59. 59
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @JoyceH:

    Has any government or news organization ever done a really thorough investigation into that Trump modeling agency?

    I don’t know what the problem is. It’s just a Trump traditional family business.

    If it was good enough for grandpa Trump …

  60. 60
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Palm Beach…is that what they’re calling it now?

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: Gives a whole new meaning to glad handing politicians.

  63. 63
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: BTW: I saw your question in the earlier thread way late. So I emailed you the answer.

  64. 64
    SRW1 says:

    Please people, can we remember the wisdom of “pecunia non olet”? Even if it involves a little rubbing action!

  65. 65
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Thanks Adam, truely a full service blog.

  66. 66
    Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the good wishes, all. Life is really pretty good. Just a hard day. Though it’s been kind of nice not holding any headspace for the Dotard.

  67. 67
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Suzanne: Feel better!

  68. 68
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: it’s amazing how many still don’t know the Trump family fortune was built on Alaskan prostitution.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bobby Thomson: The Fundigelicals have no problem with that, because they worship Mammon.

  70. 70
    Chris T. says:

    In case you’re wondering why Trump keeps talking about women with their mouths bound with tape… now you know why.

  71. 71
    Jay says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Not Alaska, Seattle, Washington State and the Yukon, ( Canada),

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Trump

  72. 72
    Ivan X says:

    @Baud: I’m voting for Baud

  73. 73
    joel hanes says:

    @trollhattan:

    The persons responsible for sacking the scriptwriters have been sacked.

  74. 74
    Ivan X says:

    @Adam L Silverman: all of them? Every last one in NYC? Because there are approximately a billion Asian (usually Chinese) massage places here, and many are just massage places.

  75. 75
    trnc says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Hey, without massage parlors guys like Seb Gorka and Matt Gaetz wouldn’t have a love life.

    Or any contact with minors.

  76. 76
    Barney says:

    All those photos with Trump and other Republican bigwigs weren’t just for fun – Li Yang’s business is built around getting access to Republicans for Chinese clients – Mother Jones:

    A Florida Massage Parlor Owner Has Been Selling Chinese Execs Access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago

    Beyond this sordid tale, there is another angle to the strange story of Yang: She runs an investment business that has offered to sell Chinese clients access to Trump and his family. And a website for the business—which includes numerous photos of Yang and her purported clients hobnobbing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach—suggests she had some success in doing so.

    Yang, who goes by Cindy, and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017. The company describes itself on its website, which is mostly in Chinese, as an “international business consulting firm that provides public relations services to assist businesses in America to establish and expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace.” But the firm notes that its services also address clients looking to make high-level connections in the United States. On a page displaying a photo of Mar-a-Lago, Yang’s company says its “activities for clients” have included providing them “the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.” The company boasts it has “arranged taking photos with the President” and suggests it can set up a “White House and Capitol Hill Dinner.” (The same day the Herald story about Yang broke, the website stopped functioning.)

    The GY US Investments website lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago at which Yang’s clients presumably can mingle with Trump or members of his family. This includes something called the International Leaders Elite Forum, where Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, will supposedly be the featured speaker. Attendees, the site says, will include “Chinese elites from various countries, including the US states, as well as elite leaders from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, Europe and other countries and regions.” Another event for which Yang’s firm says it can provide access is Trump’s annual New Year’s celebration at Mar-a-Lago. Elsewhere on the website, the firm boasts that “GY Company arranged a number of guests to attend the 2019 New Year’s Eve dinner. All the guests took photos with” members of Trump’s family. This page displays photos of Chinese executives and a Chinese movie star with Donald Trump Jr., suggesting that these pics were arranged by the company, and also includes a photo of Yang with Elizabeth Trump Grau.

    Among the Chinese executives who attended that New Year’s event was Huachu Tang, the owner of an electric car company. Tang told Yahoo Finance that he flew 17 hours from Xi’an, China, with his family and an assistant in hopes of meeting with Trump at the party. Though he reportedly speaks almost no English, Tang said he hoped to use a Trump connection to build up his company’s brand before eventually taking it public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trump, however, canceled his trip to Mar-a-Lago due to the government shutdown. Tang and his wife managed to pose for pictures with Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Trump Grau. Tang told Yahoo that he received admission to the New Year’s party through a package offered by a public relations agency—perhaps Yang’s firm. According to Yahoo, the company Tang used declined to reveal the price of the package, citing the confidentiality of the contract.

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/03/a-florida-massage-parlor-owner-has-been-selling-chinese-execs-access-to-trump-at-mar-a-lago/

    We always thought Mar-a-Lago members would be using it to make money through access, just as Trump himself does – he hiked the membership fees when he became president. Here’s the result.

  77. 77
    J R in WV says:

    Wow. I am so shocked that billionaires and ‘high-level’ Republican politicians like Congressman Graetz would socialize with and take selfies with Madam Yang. HAHAHAHAHAAHaa, no, I’m not. Not at all.

    And the pictures are SO BAD! I’ve taken better pics of my cat stretched out on my chest in bad with my tablet than those photos.

    Is there a wide eyed shock emojie? ‘Cause that’s what I needed for this!

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