Critics have been complaining about supposed conflicts of interest which could “doom” Trump’s presidency before it begins pretty much since Hillary Clinton conceded. I’m not sure how much the President Elect really cares about such complaints (particularly since he correctly pointed out that he can’t actually have such conflicts under current law) but he seems to be throwing a bone to those who are worried about it. We’re going to be treated to a press conference in two weeks where The Donald will “officially” turn over his business empire to his family. (NBC News)
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he is drawing up documents that will “take me completely out” of his business operations “in order to fully focus on running the country.”
In early-morning tweets, the real-estate mogul was scant on details but said he would hold a news conference with his children on Dec. 15 to talk about his departure from his self-branded businesses and Trump Organization empire.
Here are the tweets where the news broke (which is pretty much how presidential coverage takes place these days).
I doubt this will satisfy the anti-Trump forces but that was never the point, really. Note that Trump says it’s visually important to do this. He couldn’t send much clearer of a signal than that. The Trump empire isn’t going into a blind trust and it would probably be disastrous for Trump financially if it did. (The stories of what happened to Jimmy Carter’s personal fortunes when he left office are legendary.) If his children are running the business and he’s talking to them regularly, there’s simply no way that he can be unaware of where his money is working for him.
But is that really a requirement for the presidency? If so, then we’re effectively eliminating anyone from the private sector who has achieved significant success from contention. I somehow doubt that was ever the original intention of the founders, particularly when you consider that all the power brokers of the day came from the white, landed gentry.
Perhaps the better question is how much time Trump would have available to pay attention to his business once he’s in the Oval Office. Haven’t we always been assured that the White House is running at full speed pretty much from the moment the President awakes until he goes to bed at night and even travels with him while he’s on the road? If Trump is actually doing his new job he won’t have much time for his old one. But that assumption has been challenged somewhat in recent years. If you look at nothing more than the number of hours that Barack Obama has spent on a variety of golf courses and basketball courts or simply doing campaign rallies for Hillary Clinton, you might think that presidents have nothing but free time on their hands.
Assuming he takes questions on December 15th we’ll probably find out all there is to know then. Is he selling his assets entirely? And if so, where are the kids going to come up with that kind of money to buy it all? We’ll know soon enough. The Trump family is already busily drawing up documents which will transfer control of his holdings and operations to those he trusts the most, whatever “transfer” happens to mean in this case. And if they make the occasional phone call over the next four or eight years to ask for his input on how a particular business decision goes, are you really going to be all that upset?