Ethical minefield: Potential conflict of interest as Trump hands over business control to children

NEW YORK, U.S. - Donald Trump's presidency will be an ethical minefield.  When he starts work in the Oval Office in January, he will be tangled in more potential business and ...

• Trump's children to manage business empire through "blind trust"

• Obama administration gives up on Trans-Pacific Partnership

• Trump will face more potential business and financial conflicts of interest than any other president in U.S. history

NEW YORK, U.S. - Donald Trump's presidency will be an ethical minefield. 

When he starts work in the Oval Office in January, he will be tangled in more potential business and financial conflicts of interest than any other president in U.S. history.

Presidents usually put their finances into what's called a blind trust, letting an independent third party handle their money so they can't use their power for personal gain. Trump is instead letting his kids - Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka - handle his organisation.

His decision on Thursday to leave his three oldest children in control of his fortune through what he labeled a "blind trust" during his presidency was already an unusual and eyebrow-raising setup.

Putting it bluntly, letting your kids run your business is not a blind trust. 

To compound matters, on Friday, the Trump campaign announced that all three would also 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.

By putting his family in charge of his business, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise concerns and ethical quagmires. 

In addition, “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," said Meredith McGehee, a strategic adviser at the Campaign Legal Center. 

"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.”

We can only hope this plan isn't indicative of what kind of a leader he plans to be, and what kind of an administration he plans to run.

TPP – the first casualty

Donald Trump’s pledge to upend U.S. trade policy is claiming its first casualty, as Republican leaders in Congress have closed the door on the Obama administration’s hopes for last-minute ratification of an expansive Pacific Rim trade accord before the president leaves office.

The sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, meant to bind United States and Asia, effectively died on Friday with the Republicans making it clear they wouldn't consider it during the lame duck session.

The TPP, which had been championed by Republicans just a year ago, fell victim to a wave of opposition to globalisation and free trade agreements that became a rallying cry during the presidential campaign.

Trump, during the course of his campaign, repeatedly said trade agreements like the TPP would "destroy" U.S. manufacturing.

The deal was the center point of President Obama's so-called "pivot" to Asia, a strategy which would solidify economic, security and diplomatic relations with allies in the region.

Trump turns back on biggest campaign promise

Meanwhile, in what is being considered as the President-elect’s u-turn on his biggest campaign promise, Trump has reportedly said that he might not repeal Obamacare after all. 

Trump’s change of heart apparently came about after he met with President Barack Obama at the White House a few days back. 

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Trump said he is going to look at "amending" the Affordable Care Act, rather than completely repealing it.

He was quoted as saying, “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced. I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that."

He even indicated that he may well keep at least two of the main provisions of the health care bill. He reportedly also stated that he favours retaining a key part of Obamacare that stops insurers from refusing to cover people because they have existing conditions, and another that lets parents add coverage for their children to their own policies.

Analysts and experts had claimed that a discussion on Obamacare was most probably part of the 90 minute closed-door meeting that Obama and Trump held on Thursday - based on Trump’s statement after the meeting where he said that the duo had discussed “some of the difficulties” but also "some of the really great things that have been achieved.”

Trump, in meetings that followed the one with Obama, also stressed that healthcare would be among his top priorities in office.

He told reporters, “We're going to move very strongly on immigration. We will move very strongly on health care. And we're looking at jobs. Big league jobs.”


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