Ethics chief Walter Shaub crushed the Donald Trump business plan released at a press conference Wednesday, calling it “meaningless.” The president-elect plans to set his business holdings into a trust run by his two sons. What could go wrong with that?
POLITICO said that Trump filled the room with paid staff, who were told to clap and cheer:
— POLITICO (@politico) January 11, 2017
Director of the Office Of Government Ethics (OGE) Walter Shaub body slammed Trump’s plan during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Shaub called the scheme for handling the issue of conflict of interests “wholly inadequate,” according to MSN.
‘The plan the [president-elect] has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades have met.’
MSN said that President Barack Obama appointed Shaub, who said that the plan the president-elect released Wednesday fell far short:
‘We can’t risk the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for professional profit.’
Trump is having trouble releasing control of his life’s work. The best he has been able to do is hand the job to his two adult sons. The idea that the near-president could refrain from discussing it is hard to imagine. Does he have that kind of self-control?
The president-elect said:
‘They are not going to discuss [the business] with me. Again, I don’t have to do this. They’re not going to discuss it with me.’
However, the billionaire has no intention of selling any of his real estate or his privately owned company. Given that Trump has not released his income taxes, there is no accurate way to determine the extent of his holdings.
At the press conference the president-elect produced one of his attorneys, Sheri Dillon, who argued the case that Trump could not possibly sell off all of his assets. She claimed doing so would cause any number of additional conflicts.
There is no doubt that divesting his business holdings “could be costly,” as Shaub said. But then the ethicist insisted that that is exactly what is necessary, if Trump wishes to step into the position of president of the United States. Shaub said:
‘No, I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to be president of the United States of America.’
During the press conference, the almost-president said that “a president cannot have a conflict of interest!” So, creating the trust was purely voluntary. Shaub disagreed. He said that comment is “quite obviously not true:”
‘I think the most charitable way to understand such statements is that they are referring to a particular conflict-of-interest law that does not apply to the president.’
‘Common sense dictates that the president can of course have very real conflicts of interests.’
Common sense is the key here.
Watch Donald Trump’s entire press conference below:
Featured Image: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.