‘Presidency’ more important
US President-elect Donald Trump has said that he’s leaving his business empire to focus on being the nation’s 45th president, bowing to pressure to avoid potential conflicts of interest between governing and profiting in the private sector.
“I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again,” he tweeted. “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”
He said legal documents are “being crafted which take me completely out of business operations”, saying the presidency is “a more important task!”.
Meanwhile, former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s former campaign finance director, confirmed that Trump has picked him as treasury secretary and that billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been chosen for commerce secretary.
Mnuchin, 53, led Trump’s finance operations during the election campaign. But he has no government experience, which could prove a political hurdle. If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump’s tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.
Trump has previously said that he’d leave his business operations to his three eldest children – Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka, though that wasn’t clear from his tweets.
Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff, said “that’ll all be worked out”.
Priebus told MSNBC that Trump has “got the best people in America working on it”.
Priebus demurred when asked if Trump planned to put his businesses in a blind trust – as presidents have traditionally done – or leave them in his children’s hands.
“I’m not ready to reveal that really,” Priebus said.
Priebus also said Trump is “taking seriously” the issue of possible conflicts of interest.