Ethics Watchdog Blasts Trump's 'Wholly Inadequate' Plan to Eliminate Conflicts of Interest
President-elect Donald Trump's feud with reporters during his much-anticipated press conference overshadowed what was supposed to be its main focus: a plan to eliminate his worldwide conflicts of interests.
"They want a president to run the country... I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don't like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to," Trump said in the January 11 press conference.
"My two sons are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner," Trump promised.
Trump’s attorney, Sheri Dillon, also addressed Trump's plans for handling his extensive business empire.
"The president-elect has also already disposed of all of his investments in publicly traded or easily liquidated investments," Dillon said.
The trust will hold both liquid assets as well as Trump's preexisting, illiquid assets, including Trump-owned properties, hotels and goods.
"Through instructions in the trust agreement, President-elect Trump first ordered that all pending deals be terminated. This impacted more than 30 deals, many of which were set to close by the end of 2016. As you can well imagine, that caused an immediate financial loss of millions of dollars, not just for President-elect Trump but also for Don, Ivanka and Eric," continued Dillon.
Dillon also pointed out that the trust agreement imposes strict restrictions on new deals. But for ethics watchdog Walter Shaub, it's simply "meaningless.”
“The ethics program starts at the top,” the head of the federal Office of Government Ethics said at a Brookings Institution forum in Washington.
"The president-elect is now entering a world of public service. He's going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. So, no, I don't think the divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the president of the United States of America," Shaub said.
Trump's predecessors have generally liquidated their personal assests in a blind trust. This month, he will become the wealthiest president in U.S. history.