I am having trouble understanding what it is about conflict of interest that Donald J. Trump doesn’t get.
The president-elect has an enormous business empire. He has contacts throughout the world. He has enriched himself beyond most people’s imagination.
Now he’s about to become president of the United States. What should a man with all that wealth do to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest?
Let’s see, how about selling those business interests outright? Or, how about putting them into a blind trust, let someone manage those interests — and stay the hell away from everything having to do with those business interests?
Is the president-elect going to do either of those things? Apparently not, according to the New York Times.
Trump now is letting it be known he intends to keep at least an interest in his businesses while his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, run them.
Daddy Trump will still be involved, if only on the fringes, with the business empire he has built.
The U.S. Constitution refers to “emoluments,” and states that the president must not make money dealing with foreign governments. The next president is treading dangerously close — as long as he retains an “interest” in his business — of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. His businesses have extensive relationships with many foreign governments.
This shouldn’t be a close call. This should be an easy decision for the president to make. If something presents the potential for conflict of interest, you must act aggressively to remove the element that creates that potential conflict.
Trump is not about to quit the office he fought so hard to win. The only alternative is for him to quit the business. Sell it. Put it into a blind trust. Have nothing — not a single, solitary thing — to do with it.
Why doesn’t he get it?