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Trumps are No Longer Moguls; They are the U.S. First Family

Trumps are No Longer Moguls; They are the U.S. First Family

Trump close to first presidential scandal before even swear oath

Trumps Must Give Up Personal Profits For State Affairs

Donald Trump isn’t even president yet, and he’s pushing the United States toward the first constitutional crisis of his presidency. Sadly, I predict it won’t be the last.

I’ll say it flat out: He needs to divest himself of the Trump Organization. Not just hand it off to his kids or put it in blind trust.

He needs to sell it off.

Everything. Lock stock and barrel.

And yes, his name needs to come off all those Trump towers around the world.

His kids need to walk away from everything their father built. They have to leave the nest and fly on their own. It’s a high price to pay, but it’s a price Trump unwittingly committed his family to when he ran for, and was elected, president.

He is no longer Donald Trump of the Trump Organization. He is president of the United States. His wife, Melania, is no longer the head of a fashion line; she’s first lady of the United States.

It’s slightly different for the kids. Let Invanka sell her jewelry under her own name. Let Donald Jr., Tiffany, Eric and, eventually, Barron hawk their wares under their own names, but there can be no Trump-branded hotels in foreign countries.

But if Trump’s children insist on being involved in public affairs as ambassadors for their father, they need to either go all in and become federal employees – and sell or close their businesses – or stay the hell out of the Oval Office.

There has to be distance between the public’s business and the Trumps’ businesses.

The Donald’s mixing of private and public business – as evidenced by his recent discussion of diplomacy and real estate in the same phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – shows how clueless Trump is to the concept of governmental ethics. But we knew that, right?

Having Ivanka, marketing director of the Trump Organization, at his side while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was further evidence of his willingness to blur whose interests are being pursued.

The president of the United States is exempt from the Governmental Ethics Act, but the founders recognized from the birth of the Republic that the president should be beholden to no one except the people of the United States. Hence this clause (8) in Article I, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution:

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, 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.”

That’s why Trump must sell. There is no way Donald Trump can constitutionally profit from the Trump Organization’s foreign holdings without violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Diplomats staying at the Trump International Hotel down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House would be chump change compared to the impropriety of Trump’s name staying on hotels on the Trump Towers Istanbul, or his daughter negotiating deals with Japanese officials, or his son inking branding agreements in India.

The Turkish example says it all: Trump rants against Muslims, leading Erdoğan to demand that the Trump name be removed from the Istanbul towers. Then they have a phone call in which Trump passes on praise for Erdoğan from Trump’s Turkish business partner in the Istanbul towers and, viola, Erdoğan retracts his call for the Trump name to come down.

The Trump organization must cease to exist as an entity. Otherwise, we start down the road of the oligarchs of Russia who routinely, immorally and corruptly, mix business, bribery and governing. Allowing that would leave a lasting stench in the White House that could never be removed.

 

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Dan Vukelich is a writer and former editor of ABQ Free Press.

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  • Shauna Johnson
    December 7, 2016, 3:13 pm

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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.

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