Trump noted that he plans to hold an event in New York City in two weeks to renounce all ties to several businesses.
He noted that while there is no law that mandates those in office not to have businesses, he sees it as “visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest.”
Trump detractors have raised the issue of The US Constitution’s “emoluments clause”, which prohibits public officials from taking payments “of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign state”.
Norman Eisen, a former ethics counselor to the Obama administration, gave an interview to The Guardian earlier this week, in which he stated “Trump was totally wrong when he said the conflict of interest doesn’t apply to me,”.
“It shows he doesn’t know the constitution. The most fundamental conflict clause in the US constitution is the prohibition on emoluments on payments, presents or other things of value being given to American political officials including the president.”
Eisen, now a senior figure at the Liberal think tank The Brookings Institution, added: “Because of [Trump’s] international investments he gets these payments, presents and things of value and he’ll be in violation of the constitution by the moment he takes the oath of office.”
It seems that Trump is making a preemptive move to prevent his detractors from having any ammunition, given that many are already seeking ways to get him out of office before he even enters the White House.
Trump indicated that his children will attend the event, leading some to believe that he is set to hand down his businesses to them.
The detractors have already noted that because Trump’s family are involved in his transition team, it would still constitute a conflict of interest for them to be involved in his businesses.
Some Democrats are attempting to have it made law that any sitting president or vice president should have to place all their business assets into a blind trust, or be mandated to get the approval of the Office of Government Ethics in order to make business decisions that could affect their status.
On the potential of leaving assets in a blind trust, Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said on Wednesday “that’ll all be worked out”.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Priebus said Trump has “got the best people in America working on it” but that he is “not ready to reveal” whether he will be passing his interests on to his children or not.
In the infamous interview with the New York Times last week Trump described his business empire as “certainly a hotter brand than it was before”.
“As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest,” he stated.
“And I understand why the president can’t have a conflict of interest now because everything a president does in some ways is like a conflict of interest.” Trump continued.
He added: “In theory, I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly. And there’s never been a case like this where somebody’s had, like, if you look at other people of wealth, they didn’t have this kind of asset and this kind of wealth, frankly. It’s just a different thing.”
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