How Trump's business presents huge conflicts of interest
During the general election, Donald Trump railed against the Clinton Foundation, accusing it of being a "pay for play" scheme -- alleging that donors gave money to the charity for access and special favors. "It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history," Trump said back in August. "What they were doing during Crooked Hillary's time as Secretary of State was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately." But doesn't that exact-same line of argument apply to Trump and his business interests now that he's president-elect? Consider:
The Washington Post reports how foreign diplomats are now staying at Trump's DC hotel as a way to curry favor with the new administration. "'Why wouldn't I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, "I love your new hotel!" Isn't it rude to come to his city and say, "I am staying at your competitor?"' said one Asian diplomat."
The New York Times notes how Trump's Indian business partners met with him in New York last week. "In a telephone interview, Atul Chordia, one of the developers who met last week with Mr. Trump, played down the appointment as a 'two-minute' congratulatory conversation in which no business was transacted and no new projects were discussed. But newspapers in India reported it as a business meeting, illustrated with a photograph of the beaming real estate executives — Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia and Kalpesh Mehta — flanking the future president, and indicated that the builders and Mr. Trump's organization are planning further collaborative real estate projects."
And as we mentioned on Friday, daughter Ivanka Trump -- who is likely to help run Trump's business empire -- sat in on a meeting Thursday with Japan's prime minister.
Priebus: "We're looking at this right now"
Asked about these potential conflicts of interest, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on "Meet the Press" yesterday: "We're looking at this right now Chuck, as well. And like, like I said before, we're going to make sure that no matter what decisions are made, that they're going to be run through counsel. And as you know, there's a White House Counsel's office that will be there, that will be issuing opinions and these matters will all be dealt with, they'll all be dealt with accordingly." But if the Clinton Foundation was problematic because it was seen as a way to curry favor with a then-secretary of state and possible president, and if the GOP's call was to shut it down "immediately," then how is Trump's business any different? And why shouldn't immediate action be taken to deal with it? As the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page recommended last week, the only real solution is for Trump to liquidate his stake in his company. "Millions of Americans have put their trust in Mr. Trump to succeed as President and improve their lives, not treat this as a four-year hiatus from his business. The presidential stakes are too high for Mr. Trump to let his family business become a daily political target."
Remember Trump accused Hillary of "Pay to Play". Hypocrite that he is.