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Why Donald Trump's Claim Of 'No New Deals' As President Doesn't Hold Water

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President Donald Trump

In another late-night series of tweets, President-elect Donald Trump dubiously claimed his company would do "no new deals" while he was in office.

The tweets came hours after his transition team postponed the press conference where he was supposed to discuss the future of The Trump Org.

It's unclear what exactly Trump means by "no new deals"—he hasn't given a press conference since the summer—but unless The Trump Org sells many of its holdings, that promise will be impossible to keep.

The plan to cede control of his business interests to his children is nothing new, but Trump's claim that his firm will not engage in any new business appears to be an attempt to appease the concerns that his widespread holdings will create conflicts of interest that could jeopardize his independence.

The main conflict of interest lies with Trump's lease with the federal government in the Old Post Office four blocks from the White House. As soon as Trump takes office, unless he sells his majority interest in the hotel, he will be in violation of the lease's terms. No new deals won't change that.

There is also the matter of Trump's office holdings. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, wholly owned by the Chinese government, is the anchor tenant in Trump Tower. Its lease expires in 2019, and unless Trump Tower plans to lose money by leaving the space vacant after then, it will re-sign the bank or find a replacement tenant. A lease is a "deal" by any standard.

Those are just the two most prominent examples in the Trump portfolio, but he has commercial properties all over the world. Unless Trump divests himself of everything but golf courses and wineries, his firm will have to continue signing deals to stay in business.