If Clin­ton Foun­da­tion must go, we can live with­out his prod­ucts

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Ja­son Sat­tler Ja­son Sat­tler, aka @LOLGOP, is a Na­tional Memo colum­nist.

Why aren’t Don­ald Trump’s busi­nesses held to the same stan­dard as the Clin­ton fam­ily’s char­ity? Repub­li­cans Karl Rove and Newt Gin­grich have pi­ously called for the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion to be shut­tered. USA TO­DAY says it should be wound down and its im­por­tant work trans­ferred else­where. The New York Times pro­poses that a gi­ant wall be built be­tween any­one named Clin­ton and the foun­da­tion if Hil­lary Clin­ton wins the White House — a wall that pre­sum­ably will be paid for by the mil­lions of peo­ple the char­ity helps.

Mean­while, there has been lit­tle to no dis­cus­sion about how Trump could be the most in­debted ma­jor party can­di­date for pres­i­dent in U.S. his­tory, while also be­ing the least trans­par­ent nom­i­nee since Water­gate.

Vot­ers still have no idea how much self-pro­claimed bil­lion­aire Trump wants to cut his own taxes. With­out his tax re­turns, which he has promised and failed to re­lease two dozen times since 2011, vot­ers have no idea if the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent even pays any taxes. $650 MIL­LION IN DEBT Trump’s com­pa­nies rep­re­sent a vast ar­ray of prop­er­ties, in­vest­ments and li­censes around the world. And these busi­nesses also ap­pear to hold at least $650 mil­lion in debt to a va­ri­ety of lenders, in­clud­ing Gold­man Sachs, the Bank of China and Deutsche Bank, which is prob­a­bly not Ger­man for “Amer­ica First.”

De­spite the re­port­edly huge debt and Trump’s six cor­po­rate bank­rupt­cies, we have to as­sume the ex­clu­sive goal of these ven­tures is profit — at least for him. He re­ceived mil­lions in com­pen­sa­tion as his casi­nos went broke.

The Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s golf cour­ses, re­sorts and var­i­ous other hold­ings don’t get in in­volved with any­thing as sor­did as sav­ing the lives of AIDS pa­tients. Even so, any­one who cares about the of­fice of the pres­i­dency should be call­ing for Trump and his fam­ily to com­pletely di­vest from his busi­ness in­ter­ests should he be elected pres­i­dent.

The can­di­date’s three old­est chil­dren, Ivanka, Eric and Don­ald Jr., are all ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dents of the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion. He has sug­gested that they will take over day-to-day oper­a­tions of his com­pany, shun­ning the “blind trust” that nearly all modern pres­i­dents have re­lied on to avoid the ap­pear­ance of any con­flict of in­ter­est. In­stead of avoid­ing sus­pi­cions, Trump is — as usual — en­cour­ag­ing them.

But even if it’s strangers in­stead of his kids run­ning his busi­ness, it’s im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate Trump’s in­ter­ests from the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion. “To put your iden­tity into a blind trust is a lit­tle bit dif­fi­cult,” govern­ment pro­fes­sor An­drew Ru­dale­vige told NPR. Trump’s iden­tity is lit­er­ally his busi­ness. ‘MY OWN FEEL­INGS’ Much of the value of the con­glom­er­ate is tied not only to Trump’s name but also to Trump’s mood. In a 2009 de­po­si­tion, he said his net worth “goes up and down with mar­kets and with at­ti­tudes and with feel­ings, even my own feel­ings.”

With his wealth and his “feel­ings” on the line, U.S. poli­cies will be­come in­ex­tri­ca­ble from the pres­i­dent’s busi­ness strat­egy. Would a coun­try win fa­vor from the most pow­er­ful na­tion in the world by prop­ping up Trump busi­nesses? Would the pres­i­dent avoid con­flict with a na­tion that of­fers him sweet tax cred­its?

How many peo­ple be­lieve that a for­tu­nate son whose en­tire life has been about leav­ing his even more for­tu­nate kids a con­glom­er­ate larger than his par­ents left him — and now elim­i­nat­ing any taxes they might pay on their in­her­i­tance — would put the na­tion’s in­ter­ests over his own?

Prob­a­bly about as many as those who be­lieve that Mex­ico will pay for Trump’s imag­i­nary border wall — 13% in a re­cent poll.

We saw can­di­date Trump pri­or­i­tize profit over sense when he took a few days off in the mid­dle of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to open a golf course in the swing state of Scot­land. And we have de­cent ev­i­dence that Trump’s over­whelm­ing in­ter­est in his own in­ter­ests wouldn’t change even if he hap­pened to win in Novem­ber.

In this Jack­son Pol­lock land­scape of a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, one of the most re­veal­ing splat­ters mostly went un­no­ticed. This sum­mer, we learned that the last time Trump con­sid­ered run­ning for pres­i­dent, in 2011, he re­port­edly pitched NBC the idea of film­ing Celebrity Ap­pren­tice from the White House, as pres­i­dent of United States.

Pre­sum­ably, each episode would have ended with one of the mem­bers of Trump’s celebrity Cab­i­net be­ing fired — or de­ported.

This is a not too sur­pris­ing peek into the mind-set of a re­al­ity star who sees ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the job of the most pow­er­ful per­son in the world, as fod­der for his TV ca­reer.

If the world can live with­out the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion, we’ll find a way to make do with­out Trump home fur­nish­ings.


A pro­tester ral­lies in front of the new Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue in Washington on Mon­day.

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