Donald Trump showed in his press conference earlier today that he has absolutely no intentions to divest in his global businesses whatsoever. He might break away from operating his business but will not due away with ownership completely. According to his lawyer “President-Elect Trump will resign from all officer and other positions he holds with the Trump organization entities.”
A question that we can all ask ourselves is, does Trump divest into a true blind trust? The answer to that is no. His lawyer also said “The trust will have two types of assets — first, will hold liquid assets — cash, cash equivalents and Treasuries and perhaps some position in a government approved diversified portfolio, one that is consistent with regulations from the Office of Government Ethics.”
“Second, the trust is going to hold his preexisting, illiquid but very valuable business assets, the ones that everyone here is familiar with; Trump owned, operated and branded golf clubs, commercial rental property, resorts, hotels, rights to royalties from pre- existing licenses of Trump marks, productions, and goods. Things like Trump Tower, Mar A Lago, all of his other business assets, 40 Wall Street, will all be in the trust.”
But, in a real blind trust, the beneficiary doesn’t know what assets the trust owns. Since Trump’s second type of assets are wholly known, the trust as described would not be blind. His lawyer even said, “you cannot have a totally blind trust with operating businesses.”
The Office of Government Ethics(OGE) is nonpartisan and works to prevent the President from having conflicts of interest, which in Trump’s case is a big deal. The OGE is not pleased with Trump’s play to refuse to completely divest himself from his business.
OGE Director Walter Schaub said that “the plan the [president-elect] has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades have met. We can’t risk the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for professional profit. Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.”
Schuab added that “I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to be president of the United States of America.”