So many Clinton corruption accusations, and yet Donald Trump can’t even pretend to aspire to even the most basic of Clinton standards.
President-elect Donald Trump announced this morning that he would be leaving his businesses to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Naturally, he provided no details because everything is a show, so we will have to wait for the next airing of this specific show to find out just what he plans to do, if anything. It’s clear that Trump thinks he can avoid all of the legal entanglements just by letting his children, whom he has sit in on presidential meetings with foreign leaders, run the show.
Which begs the question, why won’t Donald Trump do as much as Bill Clinton did to separate himself from his business interests? For all of Donald Trump’s smearing of Hillary and Bill Clinton and their foundation, it’s telling that when it comes down to it, once again Donald Trump doesn’t even try to uphold the most basic of standards.
This is hardly a liberal take on Trump’s situation. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote that Trump should liquidate his business concerns. These are not partisan expectations. This is a little like being asked by a criminal why they can’t get high level security clearance. Anyone who didn’t immediately see the problems inherent within Trump’s business interests, foreign and domestic, should never have been in the running for the presidency. But this is what the Republican Party has brought us to.
“Ethics lawyers say Trump should follow predecessors Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and use a blind trust,” CNN Money pointed out.
And since Trump is infamous for his sleight of hand tricks, CNN Money continued by having Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, spell it out, “A blind trust would mean that Trump would sell his assets and put the proceeds in the hands of a trustee with ‘no preexisting business relationship’ with him.’… ‘It certainly can’t be your own family members.'”
No preexisting business relationships with Donald Trump. Let’s clear that up right away before Trump tries to put Lewandowski or Bannon in charge of a “visual” blind trust.
Republicans in Congress need to show even a modicum of self-respect by joining Democrats in their call for Trump to ensure compliance with the U.S. Constitution.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a Member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced a resolution Tuesday stating “President-elect Trump should follow the precedent established by prior presidents and convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts managed by an independent trustees, or take other equivalent measures in order to ensure compliance with the United States Constitution.”
Yes, all roads lead back to the Emoluments Clause, “The resolution notes that in the absence of such actions by the President-elect before he assumes office or without specific authorization by Congress, Congress will regard dealings by Trump-owned companies with any entity owned by a foreign governmental actor as potential violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.”
“Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides that ‘no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.’
“The American public has a right to know that the President of the United States is acting in their best interest, and not because he or she has received some benefit or gift from a foreign government like Russia or China or any other foreign governmental entity,” Senator Cardin pointed out in a seeming primer for dummies on how to be president without getting impeached.
For the kill shot, Cardin served up a John Adams’ quote to the party that loves to use the founding fathers as backup, “Let us remember John Adams’ important words, ‘We are a government of laws, and not of men’.”
22 Democratic Senators joined Cardin as co-sponsors of his resolution. Nary a peep from the Republicans thus far other than their message to Democrats to just chill about Trump’s conflicts of interest. Remember when Republicans were saying their job was to check Obama? Not so much anymore, even when their guy is obviously putting U.S. interests on par with, if not behind, his own business concerns.
Every Voice, a group working to reform money in politics, put out a statement praising Cardin’s resolution, with president and CEO David Donnelly calling it “basic commonsense, and it’s the law of the land as laid out by our Constitution.”
Basic commonsense. This is what President-elect Donald Trump lacks. He also lacks the will to hold himself to the higher ethical standards of Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.