After going nearly seven months without a press conference, the man who once mocked Hillary Clinton for avoiding the media finally held his first formal post-election meeting with reporters. The headline-grabbing story coming out of his first presser was Trump’s refusal to take questions from CNN because he considers them a “fake news” organization–an interesting accusation when you consider that Trump spread a National Enquirer story about how Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination because they are a “real news” organization.
Lost in this distraction is how Trump used the incident as a way to cover his faux solution for dealing with the ethical conflicts he faces as a result of his “legal” decision not to divest his interests in his businesses while serving as president. After Trump boldly declared that he was fully capable of running his businesses and the country simultaneously–and once again confirming that he will not release his tax returns–the New York Liberal announced that he will turn control of his businesses over to a trust run by Eric and Donald Jr. instead of using a blind trust as presidents have done for decades.
The ethical concerns in this kleptocratic arrangement cannot be understated: Trump’s children have been involved in his administration from the beginning, they are currently serving on his transition team, they will be in regular contact with daddy, and the autonomy provided by using a blind trust is lost.
According to Trump’s attorney, Sheri Dillon, any conflicts of interest that may result–and there will be a boatload–will be addressed by a yet-to-be-hired ethics advisor who will operate under a set of yet-to-be-developed standards used to evaluate new business deals.
Wait. New business deals? I thought Trump promised “no new deals” while serving as president.
Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Well… that’s changed. The new-and-improved promise states no new “foreign” deals, and he’s going to donate the “profits” from existing foreign operations to the US Treasury. And that ethics “advisor?” I’m sure that’s going to work out just fine. It’s not like people who work for Trump aren’t free to disagree with the narcissist, right?
In a piece by Tim Carney at Washington Examiner, this attempt to separate his foreign and domestic interests is just another distraction, and it fails in so many ways:
“Regarding his domestic properties, Trump has the power, through federal lands policy, through infrastructure funding, through federal subsidy programs, and countless other federal policies to enrich himself, massively. This creates temptations for him, appearances of impropriety and possible pressure on subordinates . . . [F]orgoing profits on foreign businesses for the next four or eight years doesn’t mean forgoing riches. A foreign hotel could simply fold more revenue into expansion or debt retirement, and voila — no profits! Yet Trump’s wealth and the value of the company would still grow from his foreign revenues.”
According to the dancers comprising the Trump Chorus Line, anything unconstitutional that may fall through the cracks from this announcement can be addressed by Congress. Good point. After all, McConnell and Company did a bang up job of reigning in Obama when he violated the Constitution.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.