Trump: Would his business empire affect his presidency?
Of all the reasons why Donald Trump shouldn’t be president, said Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek, perhaps the least discussed is that under a Trump administration, “the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.” A detailed investigation of the Trump Organization reveals that the Republican nominee runs a “sprawling business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world,” with deep ties to foreign financiers, politicians, and even criminals. Almost any foreign policy decision Trump might make as president would “raise serious conflicts of interest.” For example, Trump has a long-standing partnership with South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction Corp. If President Trump were to follow through on his bizarre suggestion to let South Korea develop nuclear weapons, Daewoo, and Trump, could make countless millions. And how will Trump’s cozy, lucrative business relationship with investors and politicians in India affect the U.S.’s relationship with India’s bitter rival, Pakistan? Trump still refuses to release his tax returns, said Heather Digby Parton in Salon.com, but thanks to the Newsweek investigation, we now know he has business interests in China, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil. The bottom line is this: “Unless he completely shuts down the Trump Organization, he simply can’t be president.”
Trump does not seem to understand or care about his mammoth “conflicts of interest,” said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. He waves away concerns by saying he’ll put the Trump Organization and all his investments into a “blind trust” run by his children Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. But no trust run by one’s children can be “blind.” Trump would still be aware of how his decisions as president would affect his and his family’s bottom line, which is a recipe for “epic corruption” on the scale of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s oligarchs. No wonder he admires Putin.
Why not let the voters decide how much this matters? said Marc Thiessen in WashingtonPost.com. Despite the media’s attempt to bring him down, Trump is virtually tied with Hillary Clinton in the polls, and a new Quinnipiac University poll found that 54 percent of voters said Trump is “transparent,” compared with only 37 percent who think Hillary Clinton is. She’s lied to the public “time and again” about everything from Benghazi to her private email server. Trump’s potential conflicts may be unusual, said Amanda Hoover in CSMonitor.com, but there is nothing illegal about them, as the “U.S. criminal conflict of interest statute doesn’t apply to the presidency.” Besides, if he were caught “using his power as president to boost his business ventures,” he’d pay a stiff political price.
Trump, though, has proven over and over again that he’s utterly shameless, said Ryan Cooper in TheWeek.com. Everything we know about the man’s character, ethics, and life story tells us that “he would almost certainly attempt to leverage the power of the presidency” to further enrich himself. Trump’s scandals are so numerous and overwhelming that they’ve “lost their power to shock,” said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. Reports this week indicate that Trump illegally used his charity, the Trump Foundation, for business and personal expenses. Lawsuits against the fraudulent Trump University are underway in multiple states. “There seems to be no area of his extremely complex financial life that is not infected by double-dealing, public lies, broken promises, or outright fraud.” If this swindler is allowed to get away with his giant shell game, “then shame on all of us.”