With his inauguration less than two months away, another glaring issue has become apparent regarding Donald Trump's business — one which will require immediate and meaningful action.
Donald Trump may have made a big show on Twitter of leaving his “great business” to avoid the conflicts of interest that have been hounding him since the election, but if he stubbornly refuses to fully divest himself of his business interests, his holdings will continue to create the risk of Constitutional violations.
NPR has reported that he will breach a major federal contract unless he takes immediate action:
— NPR (@NPR) November 29, 2016
The issue centers around his hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion, a federal government property. The contract, which is valued at $180,000,000, stipulates that no elected official can be party to or share in the lease.
This significant snarl is the newest in a list of potential problems with this single property: Foreign diplomats have already indicated they believe they can curry favor with Trump by staying in the hotel, and properties branded with the name of the U.S. president risk becoming high-value targets for terrorist attacks.
Earlier this year, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that he would demand equal disclosure of all financial arrangements and interests from whoever won the presidential election. House Democrats have twice called for him to follow through on this promise and open an investigation into Trump’s conflicts of interest to ensure that he is in compliance with the law. This hotel deal is a clear and pressing example of the kind of issue the Committee should be investigating immediately.
Contractual breaches, conflicts of interest in policy making, and the capability to direct his company with inside information from the federal government all tell the same story: Trump is acting unethically and potentially illegally. But he can solve the dilemma by taking meaningful actions of disclosing his tax returns and business financials, full divestment, and ending brand licensing deals.
It is time to know what Trump cares about more: his own assets, or the country that he is meant to represent as its president.