After assuring the American public that he would cut all ties with his businesses, regardless of the fact that he believes he doesn’t “have to,” Trump is now refusing to hold up to that promise.
Trump insisted that he has the legal right to run his businesses as president and would have no trouble doing so. The president-elect also said he “didn’t know” that the business ties would present a conflict until a few months ago. He also does not seem to understand the difference between legality and ethics.
‘I could actually run my business and run the government at the same time (but) I don’t like how that looks.’
While Trump presented an enormous number of folders, saying that they contained “many, many papers” that he has signed in order to hand the businesses over, he then informed the reporters at his press conference that the businesses would be run by his sons, Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump.
‘Don and Eric are going to be running the company. Again, I don’t have to do that, but…(they) won’t discuss (the businesses) with me.’
While Trump seemed to believe that this would settle the matter, it doesn’t, and it breaks precedence. Norm Eisen, a former top White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama, said that:
‘It seems that this is the kind of half measure and partial steps that fall short of the clean break…that would have been consistent with the practice of all presidents over the past four decades. This falls fall short of the mark this close to the inauguration.’
Sheri Dillon, a lawyer with Morgan Lewis and friend of Donald Trump’s, assured the American public that Trump would not be able to sell his businesses but that there would be no conflict, as Trump will be personally selecting someone to provide ethics oversight over his business ties. He will “do more than the Constitution requires” in order to avoid any conflicts of interest, according to Dillon, by choosing his own ethics oversight person.
Trump also snapped at a reporter who asked if he planned to release his tax returns in order to prove that he has no business dealings in Russia. The president-elect insisted once again that he was not able to do so because he is under audit, but the reporter pressed on by saying that every modern president has released theirs.
‘Oh, I’ve never heard that!’
Trump went on to say that no one cares about his tax returns other than the press. How does he know the public doesn’t care?
He won the election.
Featured image screengrab via YouTube