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A Conflict Of Interests?

There is lots of back and forth from the pundits bout the forthcoming Trump government…..I admit that I am concerned about his new foreign policy team, whoever they will be…..I am concerned because of his rhetoric during the campaign….although I did hear a bit of policy that I could get behind…..

But my biggest concern at least right now is his business concerns that he is involved in…..if he does not choose the right path then I can see where there will be problems with ethics……

Donald Trump has a web of international business interests with few rivals in American history, let alone presidential history, warn ethics experts getting ready to take on a Trump presidency. According to a Washington Post analysis, at least 111 Trump companies have business interests in 18 countries and territories, including China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, creating potential conflicts of interest all over the world. “There are so many diplomatic, political, even national security risks in having the president own a whole bunch of properties all over the world,” warns Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer of the George W. Bush administration. A roundup of coverage:

  • The Guardian reports that a coalition of watchdog groups has asked Trump to put his business holdings in a “genuine blind trust,” meaning that an independent trustee would sell all his assets and put the proceeds in investments that would not be disclosed to Trump. The Trump Organization has said control of Trump’s assets will be handed to his children, not an independent outsider.
  • The New York Times reports that the developers behind the Trump Towers Pune project in India flew to New York and met briefly with Trump last week. The developers say that contrary to reports in Indian newspapers, they did not discuss business with the president-elect. Ethics lawyers, however, say that the meeting created the impression that Trump and his partners are trying to profit from his position in a way that “is unprecedented in modern history.”
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that in a Fox News Sundayappearance, Mike Pence said lawyers are working on creating the “proper separation” between Trump and his business interests. “I’m very confident working with the best legal minds in the country that the president-elect and his family will create the proper separation from his business going forward,” he said.
  • The AP looks at the roles of Trump’s three eldest children—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—and notes that when they enter Trump Tower every day, it’s never clear whether they’re going to business offices, campaign offices, or their father’s penthouse residence. Ivanka Trump caused controversy last week when her company promoted a $10,800 bracelet she wore during a 60 Minutesinterview.

I realize that Trump is a business man….but he is far above that now….he is president of the USA….his main concern must be for the health of the country not his personal holdings…..

This has all the making of a “scandal” waiting to happen.

With more than 100 companies with business interests around the world, Donald Trump has attracted the attention of ethics experts, who contend his possible conflicts of interest are “unprecedented” for a modern-day US president. Now the New York Times offers a closer look at some of these global projects and plans in at least 20 countries, with the paper noting those endeavors are concentrated on developing nations and which are hard to completely untangle due to the president-elect’s refusal to release his taxes or a roster of lenders. “It is uncharted territory, really in the history of the republic, as we have never had a president with such an empire both in the United States and overseas,” says Michael J. Green, a DOD alum who also served on the National Security Council under George W. Bush.

Trump himself bragged to the Times earlier this week that “I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world,” though he then added: “I don’t care about my company. It doesn’t matter. My kids run it.” His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, released a statement noting that “vetting of various structures and immediate transfer of the business remains a top priority for both President-elect Trump, his adult children, and his executives.” Nations under the Timesmicroscope:

  • The Philippines, where Trump is the partner on a $150 million tower in Manila’s financial district with a developer who was appointed a special envoy to the United States in October by President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Brazil, where a Trump-branded luxury hotel is embroiled in a probe rife with allegations of bribes and illegal commissions.
  • Ireland and Scotland, where environmentalists are prepping to fight against a Trump Organization-driven flood-prevention barrier that could bring down an endangered snail’s habitat.
  • India, where the lion’s share of Trump’s non-North America projects lie, where it’s “routine” for bribes to be part of the approval process, where most major developers have “some sort of alignment, direct or indirect,” with regional politicians, and where some politicians are tied to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • And Turkey, where Trump confessed last year (in a radio interview with his soon-to-be chief strategist Steve Bannon) that he may have a “little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.”

The Times goes deep around the world here.

I am not a big fan of the NYTimes….but all reports are saying the same thing…..this is a problem waiting to happen.

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