It’s been a hell of a ride for President Donald Trump so far...
He’s learning every day that being president — as he put it — is “more work” than he's used to.
And this is one reason that he relies on a trusted group of advisors to help him navigate the Washington miasma. Some of whom, like Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, you’ve surely heard of, but many others keep a low profile.
Now, many reporters in the infamous “fake news” arena like to say that Trump doesn’t take advice from anyone. That, in the end, he calls his own shots...
We can see this play out in the ways he contradicts even his most trusted advisors after public statements.
While Congress struggled in getting his “travel ban” to pass, the Justice Department made changes and adjustments in order to make it constitutionally viable. This included softening the language of the bill and making it more likely to pass.
Instead of letting his advisors do their jobs, he decided to tweet that the bill was now “a watered down, politically correct version,” which irritated the people involved in actually passing the bill.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer went on television in a highly publicized press conference to say that former FBI Director James Comey was let go because of his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the election and that Trump “acted based on the clear recommendations” of the attorney general and deputy attorney general.
But in an interview with NBC, Trump told anchor Lester Holt that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the recommendations because he was “a showboat.” I don’t care what your opinion of Trump is — the fact that he would call someone else a showboat is simply hilarious.
However, while he may shoot from the hip on Twitter and in interviews, Trump does indeed take advice from a select group of people. He speaks regularly with members of the business community and the media establishment.
I think the key to understanding his moves going forward is to look at whom he respects and listens to most. You could call them his shadow cabinet.
Let’s take a quick look at the men behind the curtain…
Richard LeFrak is the CEO of LeFrak — a massive New York real estate development company. He has been friends with Trump for decades and is a trusted economic advisor to him. LeFrak is an honored guest at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and the president wrote glowingly about him in his book The Art of the Comeback.
His net worth is estimated at $6.5 billion, according to Forbes.
LeFrak has agreed to be part of the large infrastructure deal that Trump wants to roll out.
Steven Roth is a real estate investor and founder of Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO). He was one of Trump’s top economic advisors during his campaign. Roth owns two buildings with the president. His net worth is around $1.01 billion, according to Forbes.
He is also being consulted with about the president’s infrastructure package alongside LeFrak. When Trump put his economic advisors in place, he said that he was bringing together “very smart people that know how to spend money properly." And these guys fit the bill.
Infrastructure is high on the president’s list of goals, and these two could help mold the deal. It's a realistic goal that he could certainly get accomplished this year.
The pure infrastructure play on this is the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (NYSE: PAVE). It focuses on:
- Companies involved in the construction and engineering of infrastructure projects.
- The production of raw materials, composites, and products used in building infrastructure projects.
- Producers and distributors of heavy construction equipment.
- Companies engaged in the transportation of materials used in infrastructure projects.
It should do very well if these advisors can help push it through.
There are few other advisors who are part of a sector near and dear to Trump: casinos...
You don’t get much closer to someone than being named the best man at his wedding. And this is exactly the role that Trump served for Phil Ruffin, the billionaire casino magnate. He owns the Treasure Island Resort & Casino and the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Obviously, Trump has a long and storied history with casinos. But Ruffin has more in common with Trump than just casinos. In the wedding where he served as best man, Ruffin married his third wife, Oleksandra Nikolayenkoa — a 26-year-old model and former Miss Ukraine.
They are clearly quite the kindred spirits.
Ruffin was ranked 814 on the Forbes "World's Billionaire's" list with a net worth of $2.6 billion.
Trump is also in regular contact with another casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson owns the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS). He was ranked as number 20 on the Forbes "World's Billionaires" list with a whopping net worth of $35.9 billion.
He’s also the grand pooh-bah of Republican donors. He was the largest donor to Trump’s campaign, shelling out $25 million. Hell, he even kicked in another $5 million for the inauguration celebrations.
I’m guessing that the casino industry will certainly be treated well under Trump.
If you were to play the casino connection, I’d go with VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (NYSE: BJK). This fund approximates the S-Network Global Gaming Index.
Its major holdings are:
- Las Vegas Sands Corp. — 7.88%
- Sands China Ltd. — 7.64%
- Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited — 7.31%
- MGM Resorts International — 7.22%
- Aristocrat Leisure Limited — 6.24%
Again, Sheldon Adelson owns the Las Vegas Sands.
For better or for worse, gambling is great business in good times and bad. BJK is the best ETF that lets you play the global casino market in one fell swoop.
It has 36.7% exposure in the U.S., 15.3% in Australia, and 11.5% in China.
Trump also has many connections in the media on whom he relies to keep his Twitter account locked and loaded in order to fight against the "fake news"...
Trump speaks on the phone with this media mogul every week, making him one of the most important voices in the White House who doesn’t actually work in the White House.
Murdoch’s Fox News network is Trump’s main media cheerleader as he's navigating the tricky business of running the country.
Ruddy is the CEO of Newsmax Media, which is among the most popular and influential right-wing news outlets.
He’s been called the “Trump Whisperer.”
Ruddy regularly appears on television to defend Trump and to give the public a unique look into what the president is thinking. He has also been spotted in the White House a number of times right before Trump makes a big statement or announcement.
He is also a member of Trump’s famous Mar-a-Lago resort.
These are just a few of the men behind the curtain. Once you begin to think about where the president is getting his information, you'll be far more prepared every time he makes a move that you never saw coming...
We'll keep you tuned into Trump's shadow cabinet every week in Outsider Club.
Outsider Club Research Team