President Donald Trump may be low in the polls in the United States but he has an enthusiastic band of supporters in Taiwan who are quick to praise the American leader. Trump's portrait hangs in TCG offices and the group sent a delegation led by Julian Lin to his inauguration.
Trump's inauguration was an opportunity for the group to show their support for the new president by co-sponsoring an inaugural luncheon of the California State Society in Washington and sponsoring POLITICO's Inauguration Hub. TCG posted a celebratory advertisement welcoming the new White House occupant. While in Washington for the inauguration Julian Lin, wife of TCG founder Roger Lin, sought out Trump cheerleader Nigel Farage, a British politician and FOX News commentator.
Taiwan Civil Government's love affair with Trump began before the 2016 election with the addition of Shelley Hymes to the TCG lobbying team. Hymes is a longtime friend of Kellyanne Conway, then Trump's campaign manager and now Counselor to the President.
TCG sponsored a Heritage Foundation appearance for a member of the Trump cabinet, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. TCG also signed up to underwrite a Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Live show about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. TCG picked up a hefty lunch tab at the 2017 Latino Summit featuring Vice-President Mike Pence.
TCG is an advocacy group devoted to expelling the exiled Republic of China from Taiwan. The group seeks American assistance ousting the ROC and began seriously ramping up spending in Washington after Trump's election. TCG's ambitious plans depended on the support of the White House to succeed.
ROC prosecutors have their own plans for TCG and have imprisoned Roger and Julian Lin on political fraud charges. The prosecutors say the ROC will never be expelled by the United States claiming donations to achieve that goal were obtained by deception. Prosecutors say that Washington events sponsored by TCG were not legitimate efforts to buy influence with the White House but rather were fraudulent and designed to separate donors from their dollars.
The strongly pro-American group was hard hit by the May 2018 arrests, seizure of a TCG war-chest of $4.3 million, and confiscation of sixty boxes of records and computers. Although the organization is putting on a brave show of stamina, the harsh pre-trial detention conditions of the Lins, held incommunicado in solitary confinement and denied bail, have shaken the resolve of many members. Washington media houses that took TCG money for events and advertising are now silent about the arrests and fail to report on them.
TCG members are wondering if their loyalty to Trump will pay off and bring help from the White House. Buoyed up by the North Korean summit, where Trump quieted a nuclear threat, TCG members are hoping that Trump will stand up to Chinese demands and bring stability to the region by resolving seven decades of ambiguity over Taiwan's future.