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Trump Tweeted That He Will Leave His Business Completely to Run the U.S.

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On Wednesday morning, President-Elect Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he will be leaving his business to focus on his new role as president. This announcement comes as a response to great concern over the conflicts-of-interest that will arise for Trump as both a businessman and a leader in our government. It's great that Trump says he'll do this, but as we know, nothing written in a Tweet is binding—and our president-elect has been known to change his mind before.

In a series of tweets, Trump said, "I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that 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! 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. Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!"

Trump has said in the past that he plans to pass his business down to his children to distance himself, The Washington Post reports. Not all of the details of the plan are clear yet, and ethics advisors are concerned that putting his children in charge of management will not be enough to keep the business from influencing his decisions as president. They are his children, after all—it's not like they'll avoid seeing each other for four years while he's in the White House, and he could still be tempted to make political decisions based on what's best for them if they're running the business. There's also the fact that foreign leaders may try to curry favor with Trump by making use of his businesses, even if he's not technically involved in running them. For example, foreign leaders could attempt to stay in Trump's hotels—which the president-elect has already encouraged them to do.

Trump is correct that presidents, unlike many other government officials, hold no legal responsibility to separate their private business interests from their presidential duties. But in the past, most presidents have still chosen to do so, because they want to be seen as caring more about the country as a whole than about themselves. And the president doesn't get a free pass for all legal conflict of interest problems. There's a current issue with Trump's International Hotel in Washington, D.C., of which he is currently the majority owner—He leased money from the government to complete the project, and now he is the government. The lease for the building says no elected official can be part of the lease, so that could obviously be a problem in carrying out the deal he and the U.S. government originally agreed to.

There are still barely any answers as to how Trump will handle these conflicts in office, so don't expect this conversation to go away anytime soon. Stay tuned—especially on Twitter.


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