Trump's post-presidential financial endeavors are nothing like any other president

Trump's post-presidential financial endeavors are nothing like any other president
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Friday July 5, 2019, in Maryland, and depart on Air Force One en route New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

It's no secret former President Donald Trump had a lucrative presidency but new reports suggest his post-presidential period has been reached historical financial heights. However, the money he's raised hasn't gone to the former president's political operations but rather his personal pockets.

Now, The New York Times is highlighting the blurred lines between Trump's political career and personal profits. The former president's post-presidential endeavors have been quite distinct due to how he has managed to do one thing most politicians would never attempt: having his personal endeavors and political career align.

NY Times national correspondent Shane Goldmacher and investigative reporter Eric Lipton noted that "Any division between Mr. Trump’s business and his political operation can be hard to discern."

They explained how Trump has managed to advance his business endeavors and political operations while capitalizing on both for the purpose of personal gain. "No former president has been more determined to meld his business interests — from chocolate bars to real estate to a tech start-up — with a continuing political operation and capitalize on that for personal gain," they explained.

"Other past presidents have cashed in financially after leaving the White House," they wrote." Barack and Michelle Obama reportedly sold a joint book deal for $65 million. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s speechmaking after leaving the White House was estimated to have netted them $153 million by the spring of 2015, when Mrs. Clinton announced her own run for president. George W. Bush has been a mainstay on the speaking circuit, too."

Trump's celebrity status has also afforded him professional and political opportunities.

"For Mr. Trump, the monetization of his post-presidency represents a return to his roots. He expertly leveraged his celebrity as the host of 'The Apprentice' and his image as a decisive businessman to build credibility when he first entered politics," they wrote. "Now, he is executing the same playbook, only in reverse: converting a political following that provided hundreds of millions of dollars in small campaign contributions into a base of consumers for all things branded Trump."

While Trump is continuing to capitalize at every turn, legal experts are raising questions about the ethical grounds behind the former president's dealings. Lawrence M. Noble, the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) former general counsel, weighed in with his concerns.

“The thing that is different about Trump is the making-money part seems to have permeated everything,” Noble said. “There is this appearance, at least, that he is always thinking: How can I make a profit off of this?”

According to Noble, the question is clear: “It is wrong for influence and power in this country to be sold for personal profit?"

Its a question that needs to be answered as Trump could set a disturbing precedent for future politicians who could bend the rules for the purpose of personal gain.

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