The President of the United States is an official position filled with varies moral responsibilities and requirements. One of these requirements is the sole dedication and loyalty to the country and its citizens. Donald Trump seemingly fulfills neither of those requirements, as he is frequently seen and quoted with utmost concern toward himself and no one else, which raises an important question. Just how impartial is President Trump in regards to his own business, which he, unlike other Presidents, doesn’t seem to give up? The truth is, Donald Trump earns more than ever, thanks to his Presidency, and he seems eager to exploit it to the fullest extent.
There is this unspoken agreement, at least among past Presidents, to put your business in the hands of a blind trust once you are elected. A blind trust means that business decisions are placed in the hands of a third-party to avoid any possible conflict of interests with the Presidency. Harking back to our introduction, this would at least signal an impartial and loyal approach to leading the country, putting personal gain out of the picture. Donalds Trump, even though he was urged to from all many sides, did not do that. He instead put his business in the hands of his kids, people that are to this day very much involved in his political career and have frequent contact with him. This itself does not necessarily mean there has to be a conflict of interest, but it does imply a strong possibility for it.
Trump: The Business of Being President
A recent weekly podcast, Trump Inc., started an open investigation into Donald Trump’s business affairs as President, noting that Donald Trump wasn’t necessarily eager or quick to legally hand his company over to his children, taking his sweet time for the process. Take that as you may, but coupled with the fact that Trump and his administration keep indirectly promoting Trump businesses, the whole story has an aftertaste. Especially considering that the United States already has an issue with lobbying and corruption at its highest level.
Take the Trump hotel in Washington for example. A beautiful and luxurious hotel, not without controversy, that opened two months prior to Donald Trump’s election and posted a $1.1 Million loss in that period. This turned around exactly the moment Donald Trump was elected President and is now not only a frequented spot by tourists but also hosted several foreign government officials for various reasons as well as officials around Washington D.C., especially of the Republican Party. That may be all coincidental and the expected effect a surge of popularity will do to a brand, but it also shines a light on how corruptible President Donald Trump may be in regards to his properties and businesses.
Is Trump a Corruptible President?
Time reports that lobbyists from Saudi Arabia, for example, spent 270,000 on a tab in this very hotel right at the time Saudi Arabia also tried to go against legislation making it possible to sue foreign governments as a victim of terrorist attacks. Eventually, Trump made an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, a nation wrecking havoc and taking innocent lives in Yemen with weapons supplied from all over the world. Again there is no direct proof, but because there is no blind trust, there will always be the possibility, especially since Trump has been awfully keen to promote his business affairs whenever he can.
It’s the little things. Donald Trump only seems to dine in one restaurant in D.C., his own. He takes frequent golf trips to his own resorts, such as Mar-a-lago, which doubled its membership fee since his election. There are actual business decisions taking place that coincide with the fact Donald Trump is President of the United States. The idea of a trust, blind or not, is to be impartial and not be influential or involved in any business decisions, which he unfortunately consistently is.
Trump doesn’t care though and frequently visits his resorts, which amounts to free advertising at the taxpayer’s expense. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump spent 100 days in his own properties as a President, 40 of which in Mar-a-lago which alone cost millions in expenses all while increasing the profit of those properties by his mere and frequent presence. Same goes for his Hawaii resort, which he visited while on his way to Asia. His behavior of surprise wedding crashing at his New Jersey resort may have made it a more desirable location as well.
Trump Administration Openly Promotes Trump Brand
But then again, it’s not like he’s outright promoting it, right? Well, his administration does do that sometimes, like the aforementioned trip to his Hawaii property, which Press Secretary Huckabee said: “has been a tremendously successful project and he wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for all their hard work.”
Or the time Kellyanne Conway endorsed his daughter’s company and products on live TV.
The Trump brand and Donald Trump’s presidency are dangerously interwoven on a molecular level, making it hard to separate them. It has met the concern of ethic advisors and the general public and is still very much up for debate. Several lawsuits have been filed, one of which concerns Trump’s Washington D.C. property, as it was leased from a federal agency. The contract states that elected officials may not benefit from the lease in any way, which would mean Trump would be in breach of contract. However, the agency has been awfully quiet since Donald Trump got elected into office. It could be that someone fears for his job here, which is why the contract was versed that way in the first place.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017
It’s almost impossible to get into all the details because it is such a big mess of presidential duties and self-interest within the sacrosanct White House. The most concerning parts are that Donald Trump is known to be selfish and mostly interested in things revolving around himself – not the best indicator of what that may mean for his business and the American citizens he allegedly tries to represent.
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