The surprising appearance of Indonesia House Speaker Setya Novanto and several other members of the House, including Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon, at a Donald Trump press conference in New York last week (see the video above) has led to all sort of fallout and criticism for the politicians.
When Donald Trump asked Setya, “Do they like me in Indonesia?” and the House Speaker answered, “Yes, highly,” more than a few people saw that as a possible breach of ethics, considering it could have been construed as Indonesia’s political establishment endorsing the puffy-haired business mogul’s bid for the Republican nomination.
Members of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the National Awakening Party (PKB) were scheduled to discuss the ethics of the Trump meeting at a session of the House Ethics Committee (MKD) this afternoon.
“The question of whether it was ethical or not is better left to the Ethics Committee,” Deputy Speaker of the House Agus Hermanto said today as quoted by Merdeka.
On the defensive, the members of the House delegation to New York released a statement over the weekend through DPR spokesperson Nurul Arifin, who also attended the meeting. In the statement, Nurul argued that the representatives were in New York to attend the Inter Parliamentary Union’s Speakers Conference, and that the meeting with Trump was simply a “gathering and network building opportunity to undergird Trump’s investment in Indonesia” (Trump is building a resort in Bali with MNC media mogul Harry Tanoesoedibjo).
Nurul went on to say that after the meeting the delegation was invited to the press conference and, “as polite easterners,” could not turn down the invitation. But she denied it was any form of political support.
Comission I member Charles Honoris said Setya and Fadli clearly met with Trump and attended his press conference in their capacity as Indonesian lawmakers on a taxpayer funded trip to New York.
“[Setya and Fadli] came as the House speaker and met Donald Trump wearing the House pin. It means they answered Trump’s question as House speakers,” Charles said as quoted by Tempo.
Setya got into additional trouble after eagle-eyed viewers noticed that the politician was wearing what appeared to be a Richard Mille RM 011 Flyback Chronograph during the press conference, a watch that can sell for an insane $140,000.
Considering members of the House are supposed to make about $55,000 a year, this has naturally caused some to ask how he could afford a watch nearly triple that amount. But not everybody needs to ask, considering the numerous corruption allegations Setya has faced.