The Major Conflicts Of Interest Trump Could Be Facing
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Donald Trump took to Twitter again Tuesday night to voice plans to remove himself from his business operations. After being questioned about the unprecedented conflicts of interest his real estate empire will pose, the president-elect has opted to step “completely out of business operations,” likely handing over the reins to his kids.
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
Still, Trump stepping down from his businesses' day-to-day operations does not limit the conflicts of interest that remain, four of which are listed below.
1. Trump Businesses
The hotels, resorts and private clubs around the globe that bear the president-elect’s name and fall under his ownership raise major concerns. Should Trump retain ownership, whether he removes himself from everyday operations or not, he’ll still have knowledge of domestic and international government affairs that could benefit his businesses. Such is the case for Trump's new DC hotel at the Old Post Office Building. Upon being sworn in, he will effectively become the building's landlord and tenant and will breach the contract he signed when he leased the building from the GSA.
2. Passing The Torch To Trump Kids
Though handing his business operations off to his children seems like a quick fix, the president-elect could still influence their business decisions. Trump said via Twitter he will set up blind trusts placing his children in charge of business operations. Under these trusts the owner is not supposed to know how assets are being managed, but legal experts insist the move isn’t realistic and won’t assuage critics' concerns.
3. Son-In-Law Jared Kushner
Should Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, receive an administration position, the real estate magnate’s businesses are also subject to conflict-of-interest issues. With prominent projects in Times Square, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and a supertall in the works with Vornado on Fifth Avenue, Kushner is a force in New York City real estate. A potential unpaid adviser role on Trump’s staff would make him privy to information that could give him an unfair advantage in his business dealings.
4. Secret Service Renting Space At Trump Tower
With first lady-elect Melania Trump and 10-year-old Barron Trump planning to remain at Trump Tower in New York after Trump is sworn in until the end of the school year, the Secret Service is considering renting a floor in Trump Tower to protect the first family. Should the Secret Service set up a security post in the tower, the concern is the government money spent will go into the president-elect’s pockets.