Trump Turned Down ‘Billions Of Dollars Of Deals,’ Says Presidential Duties Are More Important: ‘This Is A Calling’
Multiple business offers have landed on President-elect Donald Trump’s desk to entice him to embark on business deals in the final weeks before he is sworn into office, according to CNN Money. Trump mentioned that a major player presented him with seven offers in one week. However, the president-elect did not specify who made the offer.
Trump said in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday that he’s turning down “billions of dollars of deals” to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
“If I were really going to do new deals right now –I am turning down billions of dollars of deals… I turned down seven deals with one big player, great player, last week, because I thought it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.”
When asked about his array of business interests, Trump told Wallace that he “has the right” to do business deals. However, during his time in office, he maintained he would not be making deals at all.
“I’m not going to be doing deals at all. Now that would be – I don’t even know if that’s a conflict. I mean, I have the right to do it. You know, under the law, I have the right to do it. I just don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do deals, because I want to focus on this.”
Government ethics experts have voiced concerns about conflicts that are posed by Trump’s business interests. According to a CNN analysis, Trump owns or has a position in more than 500 companies. Trump will reveal on December 15 how his hundreds of business will continue to operate when he takes office. On this day, Trump will also disclose what actions he will take to remove himself from the general operations of his company.
The announcement led to speculation about whether Trump was planning to separate himself from his beloved businesses. From the interview, it seemed Trump still has no intention of selling off his vast network of hotels, golf courses, and licensing agreements, according to the Daily Mail.
“You know, when you sell real estate, that’s not like going out and selling a stock. That takes a long time.”
— The Hill (@thehill) December 11, 2016
In the interview on Fox News Sunday, Trump also said he wouldn’t have “anything to do with the management” of his company. Trump said his three adult children would play a large role in maintaining his businesses. When Trump was asked for specifics on his children’s future roles, he emphasized they would not be making major deals.
“My executives will run it with my children. It’s a big company, it’s a great company. But I’m going to have nothing to do with management… When I ran, everybody knew that I was a very big owner of real estate all over the world.”
Last week, the New York Times reported that Ivanka Trump would take a leave of absence from the company. She and her husband, Jared Kushner, have reportedly been searching for potential homes in Washington, D.C. Ivanka Trump will also appear at Trump’s upcoming press conference.
“I have a lot of property and great stuff. They’re going to run it. They’re going to run it. Hopefully, they’re going to run it properly. I’m sure they’re going to run it properly. But I’m not going to do deals. And I think – you know, I think that’s going to be good.”
Norm Eisen, who is involved in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, argued that Trump’s arrangement wouldn’t work out and that he should sign everything over to an independent trustee immediately in order to avoid any trouble.
“Although it is, of course, important that Mr. Trump has no involvement in Trump business operations, in order to avoid conflicts, he must also exit the ownership of his businesses through using a blind trust or equivalent. Otherwise, he will have a personal financial interest in his businesses that will sometimes conflict with the public interest, and constantly raise questions and legal issues.
“For example, unless he divests ownership, he will have an interest in the foreign government payments and benefits that flow to his businesses daily… That creates such a serious conflict of interest that the framers of the constitution prohibited it for the president in the emoluments clause. Far smaller potential conflicts led every president for four decades to do a blind trust or the equivalent, and so should Trump.”
Trump rejected suggestions from Wallace that foreign countries booking events at his D.C. hotel could be a way to tip the scales in his business’ favor.
“No,” Trump responded.
Trump then reminded Chris Wallace of the $60 million he poured into his campaign.
“I will tell you, running for president — the money I spent is peanuts compared to the money I won’t make, and that’s okay, because this is so important.”
Trump continued on passionately and noted his White House victory is much more meaningful.
“What I’m doing is so important. This is a calling.”
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]