After four days of silence, the White House has finally addressed questions about Cindy Yang, the massage parlor owner who sold Chinese business executives access to President Donald Trump and his family at Mar-a-Lago.
“The President doesn’t know this woman,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told Mother Jones on Tuesday.
The Miami Herald reported Friday that Yang, the former owner of a Jupiter, Florida, massage parlor where New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft allegedly solicited prostitution, had snapped a selfie with Trump at a Super Bowl party at Mar-a-Lago last month.
Though her family still owns other massage parlors, Yang in 2017 launched a new business, GY US Investments LLC, that offered to help clients gain access to Trump and members of his administration. On its website, disabled on Friday, the firm boasted it could arrange photos with the president along with opportunities to “interact with the president, the Minister of Commerce and other political figures,” and that it could set up a “White House and Capitol Hill Dinner.”
Yang’s apparent ability to access Trump and other top Republican figures highlights a national security risk that could be exploited by foreign intelligence agencies, experts say. Yang is a member of the Florida branch of the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (CPPRC) and the Miami chapter of the American arm of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology. Both groups have direct links to China’s Communist Party. Analysts of Chinese foreign policy describe the CPPRC as an instrument to project Chinese influence around the world.
Yang has posed for multiple pictures with Trump and reportedly visited the White House last year in connection with an event organized by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative, a White House advisory group. Deere, however, said Yang has never been a member of that group.
He declined to comment on whether Yang’s access to Trump represents a national security risk, referring questions to the Secret Service. He also declined to say if Trump is concerned that Yang was selling access to him at Mar-a-Lago, one of the properties that Trump continues to own and profit from while president.