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Donald Trump takes a lot of pride in his businesses, and especially in being rich. Before being elected, Trump used campaign money to enrich his family and businesses. And now, foreign officials are lining up to stay in Trump's hotels in order to impress—and also pay—the president-elect. There's also a chance that taxpayers will help make Trump even wealthier too because the Secret Service might spend millions of taxpayer dollars to rent out space in Trump Tower in order to protect the president-elect. And that's just an extremely small sampling of Trump's various conflicts of interest.
This morning, Trump took to Twitter in an attempt to address his conflicts of interest.
Trump posted a series of tweets:
The details aren't clear at this point (they almost never are with Trump), but many believe Trump's tweets don't adequately address the issues. Here's the important thing: Even if Trump is taken "completely out of business operations," he will still own the company, which his family will likely lead, so the issues will remain.
President George W. Bush's chief White House ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, explained the issues to the Washington Post: "That’s business operations, not ownership. The problem is, we need to resolve the conflicts of interest that arise from his ownership. And we’re hearing nothing about how that’s getting resolved." He continued, "Even if he does not operate the businesses, you’re going to have lots of people working for the business running around the world trying to cut deals."
Norm Eisen, who was Obama's top ethics lawyer, made a similar point to Politico. "Although it is of course important that he have no involvement in Trump business operations, in order to avoid conflicts, he must also exit the ownership of his businesses," Eisen said. "Otherwise he will have a personal financial interest in his businesses that will sometimes conflict with the public interest, and constantly raise questions."
"Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich." Trump said in 2011. And there's a solid chance he's going to get even richer in the next four years. In addition to his hotels and other real estate in America, Trump has business interests in at least 20 countries around the world, according to the New York Times. Not only that, but "the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders."