Donald Trump may be the new U.S. president but that does not mean he is no longer the man behind the brand. He may have temporarily relinquished the business to his children after assuming the presidency but it seems that he is still in the loop in matters concerning their empire. After all, he even takes guests of the state to his private clubhouses for meetings, so this is nothing new.
While the president should only be involved in the affairs of the state, it seems that his son missed the memo. Eric Trump insists on giving his father financial reports on their businesses even though he made a vow to keep their businesses/ organizations out of their father’s way.
Eric Trump sits behind his desk on the 25th floor of Trump Tower on a late February day in New York City, dressed in a slightly less formal version of his father’s go-to power uniform—blue suit, white buttoned-down shirt, no tie. There are reminders of Donald Trump everywhere in this office, including the TV in the corner that beams out wall-to-wall news about the president any time his son turns it on. Amidst it all, Eric Trump, who now manages the Trump Organization with his brother Don Jr., wants to emphasize that the Trump business is separate from the Trump presidency.
“There is kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise,” he says, echoing previous statements from his father. “I do not talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about the business with us. That’s kind of a steadfast pact we made, and it’s something that we honor.”
But less than two minutes later, he concedes that he will continue to update his father on the business while he is in the presidency. “Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it.” How often will those reports be, every quarter? “Depending, yeah, depending.” Could be more, could be less? “Yeah, probably quarterly.” One thing is clear: “My father and I are very close,” Eric Trump says. “I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.”
The apparent contradiction troubles ethics experts. “The statement that the president made earlier that he wasn’t going to talk to his children about the business sounded good, but the reality was there was no way to enforce it,” says Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a former chief ethics officer at the Federal Election Commission. “He is breaking down one of the few barriers he claimed to be establishing between him and his businesses, and those barriers themselves were weak to begin with. But if he is now going to get reports from his son about the businesses, then he really isn’t separate in any real way.”
It appears that the Trump Organization means a lot to the Trump family that despite mixing personal/ business affairs and that of the state being unethical, they can’t help themselves but do what they want to do. And the news picked up on it fast.
For ethics experts already skeptical of President Trump’s plans to pass his business off to his kids instead of a blind trust, Eric’s comments further call into question just how separate the president will actually remain from his business empire. “He is breaking down one of the few barriers he claimed to be establishing between him and his businesses, and those barriers themselves were weak to begin with,” said Larry Noble, general counsel of Campaign Legal Center and former chief ethics officer at the Federal Election Commission. “But if he is now going to get reports from his son about the businesses, then he really isn’t separate in any real way.” Becca Stanek
There are a number of unorthodox things President Trump has been guilty of doing since becoming president. While he may have won the presidency against Hillary Clinton without a doubt, he is fast gaining the disapproval of the people with his controversial policies that seem to show how we really see his people and what they mean to him. After all, he may be the president now – but it is only a short gig (4 years to be exact). But his business – it’s his legacy to his family.