Donald Trump's business activities represent profitable conflicts of interest
Donald Trump, unlike presidents before him, has retained ownership of many of his businesses and continues to profit from them. It is reported that he earned $73 million from foreign sources during his first two years as president - he has business interests in over 30 countries. These earnings are from his golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland, as well as from states where the US has significant foreign policy interests - he received $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey. Officially, Trump has handed the management of his businesses to his sons Eric and Donald Jr., who have pursued opportunities around the world, including in Scotland, Indonesia and India. Trump and his sons have also used taxpayers money on travel and security on business visits to Trump properties. The problem here is that by having so many business interests around the world, Trump might be tempted to act in his private business interests, not those of the American people who elected him. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law owns a 25% stake in Cadre, which benefitted from tax breaks introduced in 2017. The fact that the Trump family continues to earn millions of dollars whilst in office suggests that private interests are a driver of policy. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have counted over 3,000 conflicts of interest involving Donald Trump.
There is no legal obligation for Trump, as president, to give up his business interests. Trump said “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest”. It is only convention that presidents give up their involvement with private businesses, so Trump has not done anything wrong in handing operations over to family members.
Rejecting the premises