Republican President-elect Trump just named his three oldest children to the Presidential Transition Team’s executive committee, putting the government of our nation directly involved with the Trump Organization. At no time during the campaign did Trump mention placing his immediate family into an official role, let alone having input in the selection of 4,000 high level federal political appointees.
Non-partisan political watchdogs are up in arms about the blatant mixture of Trump’s personal financial interests and government:
A day after Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, announced that Trump’s three oldest children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — would control what he labeled a “blind trust” for the president-elect, the Trump campaign announced Friday afternoon that all three would also serve on Trump’s presidential transition team executive committee. In that role, the trio will have input when it comes to the people Trump picks for key administration posts.
Watchdogs who were critical of Trump’s “blind trust” in the first place say this proves that the lines between President Trump and his money will be too fuzzy under this setup. “The fact that they have been included as part of the transition team just shows how inappropriate their role in bridging the gap between him as a businessman and politician is,” said Meredith McGehee, a strategic adviser at the Campaign Legal Center. “It’s a clear demonstration that there is no firewall between the two.” McGehee and others have also cast doubt on the idea that the so-called “blind trust” is actually blind at all. She calls it a “one-eye-closed-and-one-eye-open trust.”
Normally, high ranking government officials place their assets into blind trust so they do not know what investments they own, to avoid conflict of interest in making decisions. But family members share the same interests as Trump, and placing his children in charge of the family business means there is nothing blind at all about the President-elect’s financial interests.
Politico reported that the official transition website read more like a pitch for the Trump Organization, than a government website, though some of the sales language has since been removed:
Trump’s transition web site, greatagain.gov, illustrates the difficulty in separating the future president from the brand that bears his name. His biography extols the “prestigious addresses” and “premier golf clubs” the mogul currently owns. “In New York City and around the world, the Trump signature is synonymous with the most prestigious addresses in the world,” it says.
Voters chose Donald Trump to fight corruption, and he’s responded by hiring a team of corporate lobbyists to staff his administration and by turning the Oval Office and numerous executive branch roles in our country’s federal government into another wing of his family’s real estate businesses. Scarily, there’s nothing in criminal law to stop Donald Trump from making conflicted decisions as President.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.