An unusual aspect of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was that it turned out to mean good business for his companies, which were paid federal and donors’ money for services rendered. Now, the possibility exists that the new government may become a business if it is allowed to ignore conflicts of interest just like Trump wants.
The Board of Elections said that nearly $6 million were paid to Trump’s company for trips that the Secret Service made to protect him.
The campaign paid more than $8.2 million of donated money for services performed by Trump’s companies, from office space rentals at Trump Tower to the companies’ employees who worked in the campaign.
Trump’ imprudent mixing of business with politics made him go as far as promoting steaks, bottled water and the magazine bearing his name at a press conference held in March. Now, he intends to arrive at the White House with the same attitude.
The signs are in the president-elect’s refusal to follow in the steps of his predecessors to liquidate his assets – as the wealthy John Kennedy and George W. Bush did – to, instead, put them in a blind trust managed by an independent administrator. Trump’s idea is that his children, the same ones he wants to have as informal advisers, are the ones to handle his business.
In addition, Trump wants to obtain authorization for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to have access to national security secrets because he will be next to the millionaire during the daily briefings given to presidents. Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump, one of the potential administrators Trump wants to have. She was already involved in controversy for wanting to take advantage of her political role to promote her clothing and jewelry brand.
Trump is the richest president the United States has had, and also the one who has hidden his finances and international commercial relations the most by not releasing his tax returns.
The danger is that he may use the information he will receive to benefit his business or that people doing business with his companies – whether private or semi-private corporations or companies sponsored by the governments of other countries – may give him special treatment in order to get on the President of the United States’ good side.
The government is not a family business or a campaign. The president-elect cannot be allowed to have such conflicts of interest. It is time for our country’s rules to be respected; the United States is not a Trump company.