First the Wall Street Journal, now conservative icon Charles Krauthammer is calling on Donald Trump to completely divest himself of his assets and put the money in a blind trust in order to avoid the inevitable conflicts of interest that will arise.
DOUG MCKELWAY (HOST): This is all complicated by the fact that [Trump’s] children are the Trump business partners as well. So, it’s virtually impossible for them to not know who he’s negotiating with as president. How does he extricate himself from this relationship?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I don’t think it can be done. I don’t think this is a complicated problem. I think this is an insoluble problem. First of all, we’ve never had a president with holdings so widespread around the world. Second, as he himself has said in many of the depositions he has done over the years, the value of his company fluctuates according to perception, and the main element of the values of a lot of his properties has to do with his name. Many of them are not his. They’re just — they slap his name on and the value increases and he gets a payment. So the idea — what you would normally do is you sell everything, because you can’t have a blind trust for a business that’s so visible. You have to sell everything, but that of course would impact the value. It’d be a fire sale. He would never do that. He spent his life constructing this extremely closely-held empire that all revolves around him and reflects him. It would require him to basically look back on the 30 years of his life he built this and to say, that’s over forever. I’m now going to liquidate my holdings, and from now on I’m president, and president only. Unless he does that, there is no answer to this, and every time he makes a phone call to a head of state where he has business interests, there will be questions.
He isn’t even president yet, but two major conflicts of interest have arisen already. We have dignitaries from other countries saying that when they visit the United States, of course they’re going to stay at Trump’s hotels in order to ingratiate themselves with the president. And a report out of Argentina says that when Trump spoke to the leader of that country, he asked him to intervene in a regulatory matter preventing the opening of a Trump hotel in that country.