One of the biggest secrets around is the scope of the Donald Trump global empire. Sure, there are the hotels and golf clubs, but his other business tentacles are far-reaching. In spite of the billionaire’s distaste for the press, the The Washington Post has created a very public running list of how his job as president could be in conflict with those interests.
The Trump presidency is shaping up to be extremely secretive. He does not advise the traditional traveling press pool of his activities, and he decided to skip the traditional traveling press pool. That means he will strip off a layer of transparency from the very beginning.
In an interview at the The New York Times on Tuesday, the president-elect had this to say about conflicts of interest:
‘In theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly.’
The almost-president is a man of firsts. This is the first time in recent history that the country elected a man with no political experience. It has been 40 years since a presidential candidate withheld his tax returns. The umbrella of the Trump Organization covers approximately 400 different businesses.
At a minimum, he has businesses in: India, U.A.E., Canada, China, Indonesia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Ireland, Israel, Qatar, French West Indies, South Africa, Turkey, Uruguay, and Bermuda. So will he separate business from his political duties?
An Asian diplomat explained the issue simply:
‘Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, “I love your new hotel!” Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, “I am staying at your competitor?”’
The president-elect said that he will turn the Trump Organization over to his children for them to manage, but that will not provide any barrier between him and his businesses. Three of Trump’s eldest kids are on his transition team: Ivanka, Eric, and Donald, Jr. This team will select the executive branch. How could there be any separation given the situation?
Already the president-elect has blatantly brought his children into contact with leaders across the globe. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to Trump Tower to introduce himself. Once there he found Trump’s older daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.
The almost-president has already used his new position to boost his business. True to form, Trump blocked the U.S. press from attending the event although the Japanese press was allowed.
Days after winning the presidential election, the billionaire arranged a meeting with developers of a project located in India. Once again his children were at the event. When the president of Argentina called to congratulate Trump, Ivanka participated in the call.
One week after the election, Trump invited about 100 foreign diplomats from around the world to his Trump International Hotel. The event offered Trump-branded champagne and a sales pitch about the president-elect’s newest hotel. They met in the Lincoln Library, which is a small ballroom also available for anyone who wants to rent it.
Usually presidents use a “blind trust” to hold their assets and prevent conflict problems. However, Trump basically said ‘hell no‘ to that. Although the conflict dances on the edge of corruption, the bottom line is that all these potential conflicts of interest are not illegal.
Ethics be damned.
Check out this video about Trump’s conflicts of interest:
Featured Image: Getty
H/T: Washington Post