Between Trump’s debts to banks all over the world and business dealings all over the world, there has never been any doubt that he is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. How extensive the dealings and debts are is hard to determine since 45 won’t provide tax returns and financials he promised. He was clear, though, that foreign dignitaries should use his hotels when they visit. He even has government offices paying rent to him. 45 chooses who leads the government departments who oversee his (and everyone’s) business practices.
Immediately after 45 was elected he called the president of Taiwan, knowing that was going to provoke China, even though we have intentionally not had communications with them since 1979. Then we find out he’s looking to do major development there including a luxury hotel. He’ll need permits and patents and such.
At what age do you completely stop bringing your child to the office? At what point is there concern that they’ll hear or say something they should not and/or understand something they should not? That child is not an employee, but they represent you when they’re there, you as a business person and you as an individual.
There is no doubt that Ivanka Trump is an adult now. She has children of her own. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is already an advisor to the president, sworn in and everything, violating the anti-nepotism law passed in 1967. Now Ivanka will be moving in as the owner of at least one international business besides the ones the president and her brothers have.
So what does it mean to have the president’s daughter also involved in meetings with foreign leaders and ambassadors? She isn’t going to be approved by the Senate. She doesn’t have to be approved by anyone except dear old Dad (and maybe President Bannon). She isn’t going to swear an oath. Still, she will attend even the highest level meetings and have a say, as a representative of her own business interests, in choices in our government. She will be in a position to ask for personal favors even if the person she is asking doesn’t know it’s just for her interests, to make decisions with insider information keeping her own interests in mind, and she will be able to steer meetings her own way. And we have no say.
This presidency, so far, has been one huge conflict of interest.
With ethics violations mounting up at a record pace, it is hard to know what to expect. It’s bad enough that Kushner is in there, but at least he swore an oath, and we have some recourse when he breaks a law or works against our interests (if we find out). With the favorite first daughter there she is just another arm of Trump First. And there is nothing we can do about it.
Link: “Ivanka Trump’s Move To The White House Raises Questions About Ethics” – by Jackie Northam and Marilyn Geewax at NPR
Link: “Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest: A Crib Sheet” – by Jeremy Venook of The Atlantic
Link: “THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE: ITS TEXT, MEANING, AND APPLICATION TO DONALD J. TRUMP ” – by Norman L. Eisen, Richard Painter, and Laurence H. Tribe (Governance Studies at Brookings, 16 Dec 2016)