As far as Presidents go, there haven’t been any in the past with the portfolio of business interests and holdings comparable to Donald Trump. Anchored mostly in real estate, Trump holds properties and businesses literally all over the United States, and all over the world. From Florida to Nevada, from Scotland to Dubai, there are buildings and golf courses with Trump’s name on them.

As a result of this reality, the Wall Street Journal called on Trump to liquidate his interests before assuming the presidency, CNN reports:

The Wall Street Journal editorial page says President-elect Donald Trump should liquidate his stake in the family business.

“One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example,” the paper said in an editorial Friday.

The president is exempt from most conflict of interest laws. But the leading conservative newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (NWS), said Trump’s business dealings will present a political problem because of “constant media scrutiny.”

The Journal referenced the effort by Ivanka Trump’s jewelry company to promote a $10,800 bracelet that she wore during an interview with CBS (CBS)’s “60 Minutes.” The editorial characterized it as the beginning of “media catcalls.”

With stakes in more than 500 companies around the world, Trump has more potential conflicts of interest than anyone ever elected president. He has said that he will turn the businesses over to his children, who have also been political advisers to him.

As evidence of the apparent conflicts, there is no need to look further than the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. According to New York Magazine, foreign diplomats and dignitaries are lining up to stay at the hotel before meeting with a future President Trump.

In the less than two weeks since Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, there have already been several news stories illustrating how Trump’s new role will create conflicts of interest with his family businesses. The latest alarming example comes via the Washington Post, which reports that about 100 foreign diplomats packed into a junior ballroom at the new Trump International Hotel in D.C. this week to drink Trump brand Champagne and hear a sales pitch for the new hotel. Unsurprisingly, a chief topic of discussion among the attendees so soon after Trump’s victory was, “how are we going to build ties with the new administration,” and one way to do that seemed more than clear:

“Believe me, all the delegations will go [to Trump’s hotel],” said one Middle Eastern diplomat who recently toured the hotel and booked an overseas visitor. The diplomat said many stayed away from the hotel before the election for fear of a “Clinton backlash,” but that now it’s the place to be seen.

In interviews with a dozen diplomats, many of whom declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about anything related to the next U.S. president, some said spending money at Trump’s hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new president.

“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?’?” said one Asian diplomat.

For the record, Trump has started that he will fully remove himself from the day-to-day operations of the Trump Organization, an entity that will be left to his children to manage. Donald Trump’s personal holdings will be placed in a “blind trust” which will be managed by – you guessed it – hid kids. Blind trusts are often used by politicians to manage their business or financial holdings to avoid conflicts of interest stemming from decisions they make while in office. In those cases, the trust is usually managed by an outside or independent party, not a family member. This is primarily why the WSJ (and others) has called for Trump to divest entirely from his business, at least during his years in office.

Truthfully, I really doubt that this will matter much in the short term. Trump voters knew he was a multi-billionaire with business ties running deep all over the place. There’s no shock now that his company, and by extension Trump himself, will see some financial benefit from winning the presidency. Trump’s brand is primarily his name, and it could be argued that every time the media prints his name, they’re giving his brand free advertising.

One can certainly argue that this arrangement looks bad for the President-elect, but I would love to see a poll taken to ask voters whether they care about this issue. Then break that down by party and I’d imagine it will be mostly partisan in nature. Voters didn’t much care prior to the election, why would they start caring now

It’s too early to tell whether this is something that will dog his presidency outside of newsrooms from New York and DC. If the average voter starts to perceive Trump as profiting off the presidency rather than governing for the people, the tables could turn.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Trump is a micro-manager. His kids will be afraid to make any major decisions without consulting him. To think otherwise is folly. And, thus, there will be no “blindness” in his trust. He would have had to pick a disinterested third party to run things–someone who wouldn’t be constantly at his side.

    Look at the campaign. He went to great lengths to funnel campaign funds to his own businesses. That’s probably ok during the campaign, but not when he’s president. His whole life has been about doing anything to grab every opportunity to gain personal wealth. I don’t see how he can avoid the appearance, if not the reality, of conflict of interest.

    • I realize the title should have been: “will Trump’s business interests harm America?”

      The appearance and reality is already there. The question is will Democrats try to call him on it in a meaningful way?

      • How? The Democrats have no base of power, anywhere in the country. This is now a one-party state. Seriously, you have to have control of something in order to hold hearings.

        And Dems don’t have a realistic chance of getting any power in 2018, either, since they will have more seats at risk in red states then. Dems won’t have a chance at any power until 2022. An outside chance.

        The only opposition Trump will have is people like Rand Paul, and a few others, each only on specific issues, who will be painted as wingnuts.

        • Your so right. The smug Dems sat idly by while the Republics elected governors, etc.

          Besides as long as Trump/businesses can produce great paying jobs nothing matters sbout his holdings. As B Clinton said “It’s the economy stupid. “

          • Tahimik–What great paying jobs has Trump/businesses provided other than the ones he and his family members hold?

            • He’s not the president yet. He’s done more, however, just being the president elect then other president elects, right?

              Just think he started out saving 1000+ jobs plus 50,000 potential more.

            • This “big” deal negotiated by Trump does keep 800 factory jobs in Indianapolis. However, another 600 factory jobs will still move to Mexico. Had the Indianapolis plant closed, those 300 positions in “headquarters and engineering” would have been moved to another facility in Indiana, the company’s representative stated. Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies Electronic Controls, will still close its manufacturing plant in Huntington,Indiana, moving another 700 factory jobs to Mexico.
              Carrier said in a prepared statement. “The incentives offered by the state” of Indiana, which reportedly include $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years, “were an important
              consideration.”

              What “50,000 potential more are you referring to?

            • All these huge companies get tax breaks, right?

              Son said the investment might lead to as much as 50,000 jobs. 50,000 jobs is a lot of potential jobs.

            • People, the State, and federal government want jobs so of course giving tax breaks is acceptable. The State/federal government win as those employed pay taxes. Other companies win as people buy items from them.

              So, yes giving tax breaks is necessary for individuals and state/federal government. Besides many companies couldn’t stay in business without tax breaks.

            • Tahinik…What big tax breaks do you get? Has it ever been so much as suggested that the middle and lower income Americans get huge tax relief packages? It is the money collected in taxes from this group of Americans that the federal and state government so freely uses to function on while giving massive tax breaks to big companies that already have massive incomes. Small business stores, often called “Mom and Pop” stores are almost extinct because they get no big tax breaks. Instead of a “live and let live” policy, big businesses make a point of underselling their products until the small store cannot no longer compete. Walmart is one of the biggest offenders of this practice of destroying small business as it is given millions and millions in tax breaks wherever it builds a store. Walmart, and our president elect Trump, are only two of many big business offenders that do not pay a living wage to it’s employees so they are forced to seek help with food stamps, etc which costs taxpayers even more.
              And you approve of this?

            • Your right. I would never side with the Wal Marts, etc. I was just pointing out what the states/federal governments get from the tax breaks. It’s just a part of life now days. I guess you might say better Sam Walton, if he were alive, then a bureaucrat.

              I’ve often said that mom and pop stores really only charged at the most $2 more than Wal Mart. Plus one got better service. But people opted for Wal Marts. They didn’t want to pay a buck more for the same thing.

              There were plenty of times I’d pay more for an item at a mom and pop store. But those small stores are long gone.

              Now the Trump and Hillary saga is a different story. Hillary was a bad candidate. Trump just out worked her. He wanted it more. Didn’t expect it but wanted it.

              She didn’t have the stamina. She would have been a weak president. We need, in these horrible times, someone who is tough.

            • It is obviousthat you are not a student of history so let me tell you about Sam Walton. He was a true American. While he was alive,only American made products was sold in his stores. After his death, three of his children changed his rule book, Walmart became what it is today. Underpaid Americans shop Walmart, because it
              is all they can afford, not by choice.

              What is your definition of tough when you apply it to Trump? Violent? Barbarous? Or old time thuggish? Since the world knows he is a serial liar, and has already shown he has no presidential skills by publicly insulting China’s offer to return our
              drone. Guess he forgot for the moment, that he uses cheap Chinese labor to make his clothing products that he brings back to the America and sells for lucrative prices.

              Hilary was not my choice but she is not a weak person. Evidently, the People felt she was qualified for she won the popular vote which meant the People did not want Trump as their president. Never say Hilary doesn’t have stamina. A foreign county interfered to help Trump, the FBI helped Trump by passing out false information and yet she has publicly accepted the electoral college’s vote. That is stamina.

              Where are the voices of dissent? Rand Paul? Chuck Schumer? Paul Ryan? I tip my hat to Mitt Romney, who withstood Trump’s public humiliation and found the courage to be his own man and refuse the nomination for Secretary of State.

            • It is obviius you don’t understand business at all. So, child, let me give you a history lesson.

              Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote in One State. That is it. Period. She carried the popular vote Only in California.

              The founding fathers didn’t want a state like CA determining the election for the United States. So they came up with the electoral college.

              California still has more electoral votes so everyone’s vote is extremely important. The less populated States have fewer electoral votes.

              Hillary is a much weaker candidate/person than Trump is. She is a lot weaker.

              Wikileaks said the so called false information your talking about Did Not come from the Russians. Besides that information Did Not determine the election.

              Trump out worked Hillary. He wanted the job much more than she did. The job would have be to hard for her anyway.

              Hillary has blamed everybody but herself for losing the election. First she blamed the FBI director and now the Russians. Nope. She alone was to blame.

              There is absolutely No Proof that the Russians interfered with the elections. No Proof.

            • For a person who cannot spell or think objectively, you must be given credit for
              tenacity.So I will try to clarify your points.
              I. It is immaterial which state helped Clinton
              win the popular vote…she won the people’s votes by millions over Trump. The people of America, some from each state, voted for Clinton. California is the most populated of all the states, meaning more votes.
              2. California did not exist when the Founding Fathers worked out the electoral system. It was their decision that the population of a state determines the amount of electoral votes it is allotted.
              3. Answered in number 2 (above)
              4. Clinton may not always be right but she is not weak. Only a very strong and determined person could have withstood the onslaught of fabrications and vilifications that was thrown her way.
              Are you actually a follower of Julian Assange? A man who refused to return to Sweden to face rape charges for fear (he says) of being extradited to the United States to face other charges and being jailed for life. Assange hides in an Ecuadorean Embassy while police from London wait outside the door to arrest him. In October, Ecuador cut off his internet usage so how is his hacking going now?
              Message CIA Director John Brennan sent to the agency’s workforce Friday “Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election.”
              5. Please state why you feel the job would be too hard for Clinton. Because she is a woman?
              6. Hilary has not verbally blamed anyone for the election results. Please show any public statements to that effect.
              7. There is proof Russia interfered with the election. Refer to #4.

            • Thank for your kind words. It’s nice to know there are experts amongst us.

              1, 2, 3. No it is not immaterial which state pushed Clinton over the top on the popular vote. The founders said they didn’t want a large state Like CA, I’ll repeat A Large State Like California, determining the election for the United States. The People of the United States.

              I don’t understand why you can’t realize that Trump beat her badly in 30 out of 50 States. The people in the majority of the States, the People, in the majority of the States overwhelmingly wanted Trump to be president.

              You want a candidate to campaign, and win, in the Large states. Those states, the Large states, would then determine the election. Not so fast said the founders, who were wise beyond their years, we’re not going allow that. Thus the electoral college came about.

              4. When I say Clinton is weak it is because she’d rather give in than fight for what is right. An example: She told, according to reports, Obama that basically ISIS needed to be watched. Obama didn’t think they’d become a significant force. Thus his jv team statement.

              So Clinton is weak. She gives in. Fails to follow through on issues. That is not a leader.

Comments are closed.