SHUT DOWN TRUMP INC.
If Clinton Foundation must go, we can live without his products
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.