Trump's businesses aren't a violation of Constitution

But if you look at the history of the words, and their likely meaning at the time, it appears that the emoluments restriction was limited to gains arising from one’s station or employment within the government, not one’s outside investments or businesses.

It’s not just reasonable minds that differ on the issue. Brilliant academic scholars bitterly disagree about it, too. Those who believe Trump has violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause, for example, take the position that any benefit, or any payment at all from a foreign government, is an automatic violation. To them, if a single Saudi prince bought a Trump steak with royal money on the first day of the presidency, then the Foreign Emoluments Clause was violated and continues to be violated daily with every steak, hotel room or golf club membership purchased by a foreign government which is inuring to the benefit to the President.

This is an overly restrictive reading of the Emoluments Clauses and the words contained therein. It’s a modern interpretation that is at odds with the history and meaning of the terms as they were understood at the time of the Constitutional convention. The word “emoluments” is limited to benefits derived from one’s office.

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