Donald Trump says that he still has the right to conduct business deals, even though he’s turning down billions of dollars in order to avoid conflict of interests as President of the United States. In an interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, Trump made the statement, CNN Money reports.
“I’m not going to be doing deals at all. I have the right to do it. I just don’t want to do it.”
Trump also told Wallace that he had been turning down business offers, simply because he didn’t want them to be perceived as conflicts of interest, pointing out one example in particular.
“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.”
Trump also added that he wouldn’t have anything to do with the management of his business empire anymore and that his three adult children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump would be more involved with the business.
“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.”
Trump was elected as the next President of the United States on November. [Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
Experts of Government ethics have repeatedly questioned potential conflicts of interest Trump might face during his Presidency owing to his vast business empire, which is estimated to span over 500 companies. And the experts aren’t convinced that Trump’s idea of handing the keys to his business over to his children will do any good either.
Instead, experts recommend a more intense approach to the matter. Norman Eisen, who led the ethics initiatives during Obama’s first term, and Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics lawyer of the White House during the George W. Bush presidency, released a joint statement earlier last week, saying that Trump should consider divesting the ownership of his company via a blind trust. They believe that regardless of handing his business over to his children, Trump would continue to have conflicts of interest throughout his presidency.
“Otherwise, he will have a personal financial interest in his businesses that will sometimes conflict with the public interest, and constantly raise questions.”
“Unless Trump gives up 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.”
Donald Trump’s children are expected to take over his vast Business empire. [Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]
Eisen and Painter suggest that Trump should sell all his assets and hand the proceeds over to a trustee of a blind trust, who manages the money without his knowledge.
Trump first hinted that he would be leaving his business and handing the keys over to his children via a series of tweets in late November. He has said that he will hold a major news conference in New York later this week (December 15) to announce his plans in detail.
I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my ...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! While I am not mandated to ....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
Although Trump isn’t technically required to divest his business assets according to Federal law, experts have repeatedly pointed out that it is the ethical thing to do and that doing so will ensure that Trump will make good decisions as President.
One of the organizations calling for Trump to divest is the United States Office of Government Ethics. The Office of Government Ethics, which examines the finances of public service officials and works with them to avoid any conflict of interest between their public service and their business holdings, tweeted right after Trump announced his press conference on Nov 30, writing “@realDonaldTrump – we told your counsel we’d sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.”
.@realDonaldTrump - we told your counsel we'd sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.— U.S. OGE (@OfficeGovEthics) November 30, 2016
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]