President Trump reportedly considered deporting a key Chinese dissident from the United States after casino magnate and Republican National Committee finance chairman Steve Wynn hand-delivered him a letter, although advisers later dissuaded him from the move.
“Where’s the letter that Steve brought?” Trump reportedly said in a meeting discussing the billionaire dissident Guo Wengui, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We need to get this criminal out of the country.”
Guo is a self-exiled real estate mogul who has been a thorn in the Chinese government’s side, attacking what he calls the “kleptocracy” running China from his apartment in New York City since he fled China in 2014. He has applied for asylum in the U.S. but his case is pending.
“They are just a tiny group of Mafia, pure and simple,” Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok on social media, said recently. “I would like all the members of the Chinese Communist Party to wake up and say no to this ruling clique.”
The Journal, reporting on the Chinese government’s pursuit of Guo as they try to silence him, reports that officials visited him and urged him to end his activism and travel back to China. In return, the government would unfreeze his assets and cease harassing his relatives. The Chinese government claims it is investigating Guo in at least 19 criminal cases including bribery, rape, and fraud. Guo denies the allegations.
Those officials were in the U.S. on travel visas and were not allowed to conduct business in the country. According to the Journal, the FBI wanted to move against the officials but met with resistance from the State Department.
However, Guo reportedly came close to being deported when, in June, Trump and key advisers discussed Guo’s case. Surrounded by aides and others, including Vice President Mike Pence, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and then-Chief Strategist (and now Breitbart News Executive Chairman) Steve Bannon, Trump made his remarks suggesting Guo needed to be expelled and requested the letter given to him in person by Wynn.
However, aides reportedly intervened, noting that Guo is a member of Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Florida, and later worked to prevent any attempts to deport Guo.
A spokesman for Wynn Resorts told the Journal that the report was “false.”
CNBC reports that Wynn’s Chinese properties account for a significant share of his business, including the Wynn Macau and the Wynn Palace, a $4.1 billion behemoth that opened in 2016 in Macau.