After campaigning on a promise to fight against self-enrichment in Washington and pledging to ‘drain the swamp,’ Donald Trump’s claim that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest” makes it even clearer that his personal interests will always come before the nation’s. From Scotland to India, Argentina and the Philippines, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of the potential minefields involving Trump’s financial holdings and foreign business deals. Even conservatives are saying that Trump’s conflict of interest could be “almost infinite” given that Trump shows little sign of divesting himself of his business interests.
Here’s what you may have missed:
New York Times| Editorial: Donald Trump’s Caldron of Conflicts
In the short time Donald Trump has been president-elect, he’s already shown that he will freely mix his business affairs with his activities as president. Federal ethics rules are not a deterrent, since they cannot be enforced against him. The situation practically invites foreign governments and businesses to try to influence American policy by currying favor with him through his business empire.
[T]he biggest Trump fans and “Never Trumpers” alike should be concerned about something we haven’t yet quite experienced on such a serious scale in American politics, and that is having a President of the United States who’s also the owner of dozens of iconic and eponymous businesses. Oh, and so far that incoming president says he intends to continue owning and running them. It’s not just that Mr. Trump is a businessperson, it’s the fact that he has so many varied and well-known business interests that the potential for conflict of interest is almost infinite.
Mr. Trump’s companies have business operations in at least 20 countries, with a particular focus on the developing world, including outposts in nations like India, Indonesia and Uruguay, according to a New York Times analysis of his presidential campaign financial disclosures. What’s more, the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders.
But a review by The Times of these business dealings identified a menu of the kinds of complications that could create a running source of controversy for Mr. Trump, as well as tensions between his priorities as president and the needs and objectives of his companies.
Voice of America | Oil Pipeline: Trump’s Stock in Company Raises Concern
President-elect Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and pipeline opponents warn that Trump’s investments could affect any decision he makes on the $3.8 billion project as president. Concern about Trump’s possible conflicts comes amid protests that unfold daily along the proposed pipeline route. The dispute over the route has intensified in recent weeks, with total arrests since August rising to 528. A recent clash near the main protest camp in North Dakota left a police officer and several protesters injured.
New York Magazine| Trump’s Kleptocracy Is So Astounding It Already Feels Like Old News
Trump’s brazen use of his office for personal enrichment signals something even more worrisome than four or more years of kleptocratic government. It reveals how willing the new administration is to obliterate governing norms and how little stands in his way. An expectation that elected presidents must forswear any financial holdings that could conceivably affect their judgment has been an unquestioned point of bipartisan consensus for decades.
Because Donald Trump hasn’t released his tax returns, it’s impossible to know the extent of the conflicts-of-interest that could impede his ability to executive his presidential responsibilities in good faith. Nevertheless, even this comparatively brief list of his real and potential financial conflicts is quite sobering. I mean, it’s not like Trump tried to tweet promotions of businesses during his campaign that have literally just been discredited in a court of law?