NEW YORK, U.S. - Donald Trump's presidency is already set to go down in history - and he hasn’t even formally entered the Oval Office yet. No president in U.S. history has ...
• No president in U.S. history has faced the ethical conflict that Trump will, when he assumes office
• Trump's children to manage business empire through "blind trust"
• Viral social media posts ask for probe into Trump’s conflicts of interest
NEW YORK, U.S. - Donald Trump's presidency is already set to go down in history - and he hasn’t even formally entered the Oval Office yet.
No president in U.S. history has faced the ethical conflict that Trump will, when he assumes office in January.
He will be tangled in more potential business and financial conflicts of interest than any other president in 200 years of America’s history.
Presidents usually put their finances into a blind trust, letting an independent third party handle their money so they can't use their power for personal gain.
Trump’s decision to instead let his kids - Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka - handle his organisation has raked up another controversy that has fueled speculations of increasing conflicts of interest during his tenure.
The Trump campaign also announced after the election that all three of his children would serve on Trump's presidential transition team executive committee.
In that role, the trio will have input when it comes to the people Trump picks for key administration posts.
Demanding an investigation into Trump’s finances and driven by a Facebook post - phone lines of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were flooded with phone calls by Clinton supporters on Friday.
Following his election, Trump had assured that he would distance himself from his businesses - but with Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who runs his businesses, being present during the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - doubts have been raised about his intentions of sticking to his word.
Trump has further been fostering his family for the transition team as Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner has been the unofficial in-charge for all of Trump’s White House business.
Richard Painter, Chief White House ethics lawyer recently said, “We were told they were going to separate the business from the presidency. Within the first week, they've contradicted that.”
Following Trump’s meeting with Abe - Facebook posts pointed at Ivanka and Kushner’s growing importance in the transition affairs and said, “This is a state meeting and they had no security clearance and she is supposed to be running his businesses during his presidential term. Can you spell yyyuuuge conflict of interest?”
On Thursday last week, Massachusetts congresswoman Katherine Clark introduced a bill that would force Trump to take steps to eliminate potential conflicts of interest that could arise from his many businesses.
Then, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Elijah Cummings, sent a letter to Republican chair Jason Chaffetz asking that the group review and clarify the potential conflicts “to ensure that our government operates effectively and efficiently and combats even the perceptions of corruption or abuse.”
However, after the dramatic stunt pulled by Clinton supporters on Friday - many experts raised concerns regarding the lack of complete knowledge that online protesters had about the kind of business conflicts that might overshadow Trump’s presidency.
By putting his family in charge of his business, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise concerns and ethical quagmires.
Meredith McGehee, a strategic adviser at the Campaign Legal Center pointed out, “The fact that they have been included as part of the transition team just shows how inappropriate their role in bridging the gap between him as a businessman and politician is. It’s a clear demonstration that there is no firewall between the two."
Trump’s organisation has ties with more than 500 other foreign companies, including those in countries with which the United States has sensitive diplomatic relationships, such as Saudi Arabia and China.
According to a Newsweek article, the organisation is “an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organisation has engaged in any illegal activities.”
Trump’s hotel projects, the Trump International Hotel, which is on government land and Trump Organisation have sued the government for overtaxing the piece of land.
Trump is also set to appoint the next head of Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is still auditing Trump’s income tax returns.
Another important appointment would be that of the General Services Administration which owns the land.
GSA would have to negotiate a deal with the Trump Organisation.
Further, the one and half million dollar investment by Trump into the controversial crude oil pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline is under investigation by the government for possible environmental hazards to the water supply.
Once Trump claims his presidency, he will definitely have a financial interest in building the pipeline.
In addition, Trump’s new appointments will regulate Deutsche Bank that Trump owes a debt to.
The Securities Exchange Commission will also be dealing with Trump’s debt to the Bank of China.
Two clear conflicts of interest in the banking sector.