Not Use the Presidency to Enrich Himself
Current Status: FalteringAs of
“We're not here to help ourselves... So many people are dependent on us"
- Donald Trump to senior White House staff, January 22nd, 2017
So far, Trump has taken incomplete measures to create a "blind trust" and assign it to his family, effectively leaving Trump as a direct participant and beneficiary of his business empire. Meanwhile, decisions made by Trump have already resulted in contracts and payments from government agencies to Trump businesses to support his unusual split-residence situation. Of particular note is the ongoing cost of providing security to Trump Tower in New York City where Melania and Barron Trump reside and the U.S. military leasing space in TrumpTower to support "mission requirements" in anticipation of future Trump visits there. The latter differs from previous president's requirements for government use of space near private residences in that Trump owns the property being leased and is the ultimate recipient of the lease funds.
In early February, 2017, controversy over boycotts of Trump's daughter, Ivanka's, line of clothing and shoes by major retailers led administration officials Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway to address the issue directly, flirting with violating ethics rules by endorsing or supporting products while in a formal capacity.
Also in February, after initial jabs sent to China over the South China Sea and trade, Trump changed course and endorsed the "one China" policy, a unification theme maintained by mainland China with reference to Taiwan. Curiously, several days later China approved a 10-year trademark for construction services in China under Trump's name - one of dozens of such trademarks currently pending approval in China. regardless of whether the two events were directly correlated, this incident highlights the ethical conflicts of Trump maintaining direct ties to his businesses while in public office.
In May 2017, relatives of Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, gave a presentation to investors in China that allegedly promised EB-5 "immigrant investor" visas to anyone who invested in Kushner 1, a New Jersey project presented to investors, also known as One Journal Square. Apparently Kushner has worked with EB-5 investors before joining the White House when, as chief executive of his family’s real estate company, Jared Kushner raised $50 million from Chinese EB-5 applicants for a Trump-branded apartment building in Jersey City.