Donald Trump Passes Business To Sons – This Is Just An Update, It Changes Nothing

So much for divestment...
President-elect Donald Trump, accompanied by his family, at news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York Wednesday Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump, accompanied by his family, at news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York Wednesday Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In a press conference on Wednesday, Trump and a legal representative doubled down on our next President’s refusal to rid himself of the current conflicts of interest between the Presidency and his business ties.

What can only be described as overzealous fanfare, Donald Trump had a (perhaps blank) stack of papers and envelopes sitting on the table next to his podium, that he told the press were the signed forfeitures of his business dealings and ties. However, if the American people were hoping that he would do the ethical thing, and finally divest himself completely or place them into a blind trust, don’t hold your breath. Instead, he will again attempt to side-step, what some refer to as a “constitutional crisis,” by passing the torch to his two sons via a trust.

Trump’s latest maneuver will not shield him from potential corruption. The lack of a blind trust puts his assets at risk of being influenced by foreign and domestic entities and other third parties. Although he has promised to halt all future business dealings with foreign entities, he has backtracked on his decision to stop business dealings within the United States. The Trump Organization will continue to do business here in the US with the approval of an unknown and unnamed “ethics advisor.”

After our President-elect’s speech ended, he had his lawyer, Sheri Dillon take the podium. She began her remarks by falsely claiming that the President-elect is being held to a different standard than former Vice-President, Nelson Rockefeller.

“You know, the business empire built by President-elect Trump over the years is massive, not dissimilar to the fortunes of Nelson Rockefeller when he became vice president. But at that time, no one was so concerned.”

Dillon then began to inform the press, what I personally believe Trump views as consolation to being unethical, that all profits from his hotels that come from foreign governments would be “voluntarily” donated to the US Treasury. You can watch her full-remarks below:

However, this still falls quite short of being ethical according to disappointed ethics expert, Kathleen Clark. NBC reached out to Kathleen Clark who had the following to say on the matter:

“This does not address the emoluments clause concerns, this does not address the conflict concerns, this is using the language of ethics without addressing the actual ethics concerns.”

The emoluments clause prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The head of the US Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, also had strong words for Trump’s ethical dilemma, late Wednesday.

I appreciate that divestiture can be costly. But the President-elect would not be alone in making that sacrifice. I’ve been involved in just about every Presidential nomination in the past 10 years. I also have been involved in the ethics review of Presidents, Vice Presidents, and most top White House officials. I’ve seen the sacrifices that these individuals have had to make.

It’s important to understand that the President is now entering the world of public service. He’s going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. He’s going to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts around the world. So, no, I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the President of the United States of America.

News // Donald Trump / Ethics / Government / Politics