A president is supposed to put the welfare of his country before any personal financial gain. Trump, being a businessman, is unused to putting others' interests ahead of his own. While he promised that as president his own financial dealings would take a back seat, there seems to be reason to doubt that. Here are twenty examples of Trump business deals that shouldn't have happened while he was in office.
20. Ethics Approval
Upon Trump's election, it was decided that an outside ethics adviser would have to approve all of the Trump organization's dealings. After all, it is a multi-million dollar company. And being that it bears the president's name and is run by his family.
Yet it is unclear whether the Trump Organization's most recent dealings have been run by this ethics adviser. If not, the president could be in potentially hot water.
19. No New Foreign Deals
Another caveat of Trump's ascendancy was that Trump Organization was not to pursue any deals with foreign countries. Even if the president himself is not involved (something we'll discuss later), there's something…unsavory at least about a company that bears his surname and is directly run by his children taking part in deals that may benefit a foreign nation's finances over our own. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility of an accusation of sabotage from another country. After all, if the deal goes poorly/aversely effects a foreign economy, couldn't they argue that the Trump Organization intended this outcome to boost US interests?
Yet as with the ethics adviser, its unclear whether or not the Trump Organization has been engaging in deals with foreign countries since Trump's inauguration.
18. An Unusual Settlement
Donald Trump's Trump University is one of his more famous failures. According to a lawsuit brought against the institution, the real estate seminar (which, despite its name, was not an accredited university) used misleading marketing tactics in order to recruit more students.
Initially, the president postured that this accusations were untrue and that he intended to fight the lawsuit. But, instead, he settled out of your for 25 million, suggesting the accusations were credible.
17. More Focused on Selling Diamonds
For Trump's first presidential interview with 60 Minutes, he was accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka. Ivanka Trump is herself a businesswoman—she owns several companies, among them a clothing line and a jewelry line. For the interview, she wore one of her own bracelets, valued at about $10,900.
This would've been fine, had Ivanka's brand not chosen to use the broadcast as an advertising opportunity. While not illegal, it is certainly gauche and unsavory.
16. Vetted Domestic Deals
In addition to a freeze on business deals with foreign nations, the Trump Organization's domestic dealings must be vetted. This is both to make sure that they are legitimate and wouldn't adversely affect the country at large. Yet it is unclear how much of Trump's business dealings have been vetted.
15. A Refusal to Place His Assets
Originally, control of Trump's businesses wasn't going to go to his children. Democrats wanted the president to place his assets into a trust, effectively freezing them for the duration of his presidency. Trump refused, and control was given to his sons.
Ostensibly, Trump doesn't have a say. But this is unclear…
14. No Sharing Of Private Info
Trump isn't supposed to share private information concerning Trump Organization. Furthermore, he isn't supposed to have access to much of it. After all, this would be a conflict of interest. Yet it remains unclear just how much of Trump Organization's deals the president knows about.
13. And No Say
Furthermore (and most importantly), the president isn't supposed to have a say in his company's deals. It's up to Don Jr. and Eric, not him. Anything else would, again, be a conflict of interest.
But as with most things on this list, it is unclear just how much of a say Trump gets in his family's various business dealings. He has made it clear that the person he cares most about is himself, and it would benefit his wallet to be involved in business decisions.
12. An Odd Comment
A week following Trump's election, one hundred diplomats and other foreign officials gathered at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C., where they mingled, drank champagne, and toured the premises. One diplomat was even quoted as saying: “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?’
This is a fairly blatant conflict of interests, that also technically goes against the constitution .The Emoluments Clause forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” One can imagine this also would include accepting money in the form of paying for a hotel room.
11.No Going Back to Old Deals
In addition to not being allowed to make any new deals with foreign nations, any deals that had been set up prior to the election were intended to be closed. While they may have come about at a time where there were no conflicting political interests, there are now. And that was reason enough to dissolve them.
But again, it is unclear how many foreign dealings the Trump Organization has dissolved. They do continue to get business from foreign nations.
10. A Strange Detail to Include….
Similarly to the Ivanka tale, Melania also used a political platform to promote her brand. During Inauguration Day, the bio of the first lady that was released on the White House's official government website included a paragraph advertising her jewelry brand, Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry. Gauche and tasteless at best. Downright unethical at worst.
9. Like Father, Like Sons
The president is not the only Trump with foreign business relationships. Both Don Jr. and Eric have relationships with foreign nations. While the conflict of interest isn't quite as strong with the sons of the president as the president himself, there's still a degree of impropriety.
8. And Sister, Too
This was perhaps even worse in the case of Ivanka. The president's eldest daughter effectively functions as his first lady—she accompanies him on interviews and is the most visible female member of the family. Yet for quite a long time, Ivanka's own business dealings involved foreign nations. This has an even more degree of conflict of interest than her brothers' do—while they are in direct control of the Trump Organization, Ivanka is the face of the Trump children. And she's the one with their father's ear.
7. An Unusually Long Time
While Ivanka has since stepped down from her fashion brand, she took an awful long time getting around to it. The Ivanka Trump fashion brand didn't shut down until July of 2018. CREW, a watchdog group based in Washington D.C., noted that the brand continued to receive trademarks from China after the Trump presidency had begun.
6. A Doubled Fee
Trump's election helped him make more money. The initiation fee for Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach based Trump resort, doubled to $200,000. Skeevy at best.
5. Foreign Renters
At least two foreign countries have rented space in Trump Tower. And these aren't private entities—these are government owned entities. Once again, a conflict of interests has opened up.
It's also worth noting that Trump apparently doesn't consider paying for a hotel an emolument, and stayed on as an executive for the Trump hotel properties.
4. Including China
China is one of Trump's favorite boogeymen. They're the cause of climate change—or, rather, they've invented climate change in order to slow down the US economy. Yet the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has an office in Trump Tower. Very interesting indeed.
3. And UAE
The United Arab Emirates also have a space in Trump Tower. The Abu Dubai Tourism and Culture Authority's office is located there. This provides an interesting potential complication to the US and UAE's relationship. After all, what smart landlord would call out a well-paying tenant's bad behavior if you're aware they can move somewhere else?
2. He Was Supposed to Sign Over Control….
Prior to his election, Trump was in charge of upwards of 400 companies. Since he refused to freeze the assets and leave control of them to a trust, management was to be left to his children. This has since happened, but for quite awhile, New York, Delaware, and Florida, all states with Trump Organization businesses, didn't have the paperwork verifying that the president had resigned for quite a while.