President-elect Donald Trump has shown the world what to expect from him once he is in office after it was learned Trump attempted to use the presidency to further his own business interests. Such an action by Trump should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Trump’s self-serving behavior, but to his supporters who believe he can do no wrong it must come as quite a shock.
Trump was contacted by the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, to congratulate him on his victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. This is standard fare for a presidential victory to receive hundreds of calls from world leaders, but Trump took things too far and used the conversation as an opportunity to ask Macri for a favor. According to the newspaper La Nacion, in Argentia, Trump asked Macri to “authorize a building that he’s constructing in BGuenos Aires.”
It seems Trump is involved in building an office building but, “the project has been held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials and various permitting requirements.” What better way to cut through that red tape than to have the president of the country expedite the procoess? The problem is in doing this Trump is in violation of the constitution. There is something called the Emoluments Clause, which says:
no person holding any office of profit or trust under” the United States “shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
This does not mean Trump would be prevented from conducting business for his corporations while he is a sitting president. He merely cannot use the pwoer of his office to attempt to extract value from others. According to Professor Richard Painter, the former ethical counselor to President George W. Bush, there is only one way for Trump to avoid an issue of impropriety, “The only good answer is for the president-elect to sell the hotel or give it to his kids (and pay the gift tax) by January 20.”
It seems highly unlikely for Trump to take either of those routes.