On January 20th, 2017, President-elect Trump put his hand on two bibles — one a family bible, and one the same bible that President Lincoln was sworn in for his first term, and that President Obama used — and swore that he would, to the best of his ability, “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
President Trump then promptly broke his word.
Specifically, the minute Trump was sworn in, he violated Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, known as the emoluments clause.
From Think Progress:
The emoluments clause prohibits any person holding a federal office (such as, for example, the presidency) from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” In other words: People in the federal government aren’t allowed to take anything at all from any foreign government entity.
Trump, however, retains ownership of his international business empire as president. And his business empire is taking in a stream of payments from foreign governments — money that ultimately goes into his pockets.
For example, the Kuwait National Day celebration, thrown by the Kuwaiti embassy, will be held at Trump’s downtown D.C. hotel in February.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), which is controlled by the Chinese state, is currently paying rent for tenancy in the Manhattan Trump Tower (according to mortgage documents filed in 2012, it is the Tower’s largest office resident).
And, for some foreign politicians and foreign diplomats in town for the inauguration, Trump’s Washington hotel is the place to be this weekend, according to reporting from the New York Times.
Each of these represents an incident in which the President of the United States will, effectively, be receiving payment from a foreign government.