Donald Trump Calls Constitution’s Emoluments Clause ‘Phony’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the Cabinet Room of the White House.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Donald Trump called the emoluments clause in the United States Constitution “phony” earlier today. Over the weekend, Trump walked back his decision to host the G7 summit at his luxury property in Doral, Florida, and he blamed the media and the Democrats for his decision. However, several Republicans also spoke out about the choice to use a Trump property for the gathering as being imprudent, primarily because of the impeachment inquiry that Trump faces in the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, now Trump has gone one step further with his criticism of the complaints that he violates the emoluments clause in the Constitution. Throughout his presidency, one of Trump’s hallmarks is referring to the media and news reports he doesn’t agree with as “fake news.” Now, he seemed to mention that the part of the Constitution that prevents him from making business profits through his job as president is also false, according to an Axios report. Trump made the comment during his cabinet meeting on Monday.

“I don’t know if you know it — George Washington, he ran his business simultaneously while he was president. There weren’t too many rich presidents, but there were a few. They ran their business. Obama made a deal for a book? Is that running a business? I’m sure that he did not discuss it while he was president. He has a deal with Netflix? When did they start with that? That’s only a couple examples…. I don’t think you people with this phony emoluments clause — and by the way, I would say that it’s cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president. And that’s okay.”

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The clause in question prevents a U.S. president from accepting any money, compensation, or gifts of any kind from any foreign state without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The clause also decrees that officeholders cannot accept any royal title. For most of Trump’s presidency, he’s faced criticism of violating this clause with his various businesses. He also faces a lawsuit brought by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia regarding him profiting as president with his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which is near the White House.

Since the announcement that Trump planned to host the G7 next June at his Doral property, he faced criticism. Plus, his embattled acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney found himself in hot water. This came after Mulvaney made comments appearing to state that the Trump administration had a quid pro quo with Ukraine earlier this year during the press conference to announce the G7. On Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to announce he’d changed his mind about Doral even though he’d reportedly planned to host the event at cost, making no money off hosting the G7. The president has mentioned it daily on Twitter since the announcement, seemingly unhappy about having to change his plans for the summit.