Remember when Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of using the Clinton Foundation as a means of making money via selling access to the State Department and, potentially, the presidency? Well, in a turn of events that should surprise no one, Trump is now doing the very same thing he accused the Clintons of.
According to POLITICO, the president-Elect’s Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve Party was a big hit. With a minimum ticket price of $525 and more than 800 tickets sold, the event made more than $420,000.
The club hosts a New Year’s party every year, but this year featured a special guest that surely drove up attendance — namely, the president-elect and members of his family.
Incoming White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks was dismissive of concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest.
‘The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict. This is an annual celebratory event at the private club, like others that have continued to occur since the election. Additionally, the president cannot and does not have a conflict.’
For the record, merely saying “The president cannot and does not have a conflict” does nothing to address the actual conflicts of interest that arise from such events. Trump is, directly or indirectly, using his position as president-elect to increase attendance at his clubs, hotels, and events. The Mar-a-Lago incident is only the latest in a string of problematic business developments that have occurred since Trump’s election.
For example, Trump’s new D.C. hotel, which has gotten some less than stellar reviews, is doing a great business with a very specific clientele: foreign diplomats. The Washington Post reports that some diplomats even said that they felt compelled to stay at Trump’s hotel because, to do otherwise, would appear rude.
The Post also talked with Lynn Van Fleit, the founder of the Diplomacy Matters Institute, who said that many diplomats were discussing ways to curry favor with the Trump administration.
‘ “The place was packed,” said Lynn Van Fleit, founder of the nonprofit Diplomacy Matters Institute, which organizes programs for foreign diplomats and government officials. She said much of the discussion among Washington-based diplomats is over “how are we going to build ties with the new administration.” ‘
There are also some troubling reports that Trump might be using his newfound influence in order to strengthen his company’s position at the negotiating table. Shortly after winning the election, he took a business call with a group of Indian developers who wanted to work with him.
Trump allegedly even used his position as president-elect to attempt to persuade a British politician to oppose the creation of offshore wind farms that he fears will ruin the view from one of his Scottish golf courses.
These are just a handful of the troubling examples of potential conflicts of interest that President Trump could face. There are so many that The Atlantic even created a handy list so you can keep track of them all.
Trump has said that he plans to hand his company over to his children, but many fear that won’t be enough. Some have suggested that Trump put his business in a blind trust, while others have advised him to sell all his properties and then have that money invested in a blind trust.
Regardless, Trump must take some action in regards to his business or we’ll likely see more conflicts of interest in the future.
Featured image via Getty Images.