Clarence Thomas Says That The Rich GOP Sugar Daddy Who’s Been Paying For His Lavish Vacations For Over 20 Years Is Just A Friend So It’s NBD

On Thursday, ProPublica published a damning report about Clarence Thomas’ friendship with GOP mega-donors Harlan and Kathy Crow, who have spent the better part of the past 20+ years footing the bill for a number of luxury vacations for the Supreme Court Justice and his QAnon conspiracy theory-loving wife Ginni.

Reports ProPublica:

In late June 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

And that’s just a sampling of the absurdly lavish vacations Clarence and Ginny have taken on the dime of the Crows.

Yet Thomas, who is legally obligated to disclose any “gifts” he receives, doesn’t seem to get why people are making such a big deal over a billionaire Republican sugar daddy paying for his lavish luxury vacations. Newsweek obtained a copy of a statement Thomas made in response to ProPublica’s report, in which he clearly seemed to believe that having a pal shell out millions of dollars to entertain you over the course of a couple of decades was really not a big deal:

Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them. Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.

Ahh, we get it — the rules have changed. And Clarence is just going by what some random person reportedly told him back in the early ‘90s. Fortunately, Thomas made is clear that he now plans to abide by whatever rules are now in place and will be a good judge from here on out and disclose who pays for his fancy vacations:

I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.

Note he does not say he will stop letting a billionaire pay for his travel, just that he’ll follow the new rules about disclosure. We’re sure that will make everything better.

In the 2020 documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words — which Insider reports was laughably financed by Harlan Crow — Thomas actually talks about his vacation preferences, which he claims are as humble as his own beginnings.

​​”I don’t have any problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States, and I prefer seeing the regular parts of the United States,” Thomas says. “I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There’s something normal to me about it.”

“I come from regular stock, and I prefer that,” Thomas added. “I prefer being around that.” Well, the Crows are definitely not “that.” Clarence and Ginni have been frequent guests on the Crows’ super-yacht and private planes.

Harlan Crow also responded to ProPublica’s report, claiming that: “The hospitality we have extended to the Thomas’s over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends. We have been most fortunate to have a great life of many friends and financial success, and we have always placed a priority on spending time with our family and friends. Justice Thomas and Ginni never asked for any of this hospitality.”

Of course, whether or not the Thomases asked for the Crows’ hospitality is not the issue. It’s what the Crows — or any of their many other “dear friends” — might have asked for, expected, or talked about that’s the real problem.

“It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” retired federal judge Nancy Gertner told ProPublica.

(Via Newsweek)