Trump Tweets he will 'leave' business, never says he will sell it

Donald Trump made the announcement in a series of tweets. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 30, 2016, 12.54 PM (IST)

US president-elect Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that he will be, in his words, "leaving my great business in total" during his presidency to "focus on running the country".

Trump said he, along with his children, would hold a press conference on December 15 to share details of the separation of interests.

The real-estate mogul has often been criticised for holding on to his business interests. Trump did not explain, however, how he would separate himself from his complex business empire while serving as president.

US presidents typically put their assets in blind trusts managed without their input, AFP reported. Trump's case poses a unique problem, since it is unclear how anybody can put skyscrapers around the world with "Trump" written in gold letters into a blind trust. Trump makes his real money licensing his name to developers, essentially from branding, so it can be argued that the Organization makes its profit from Trump's fame and name recognition. How this can be limited or controlled while he is presiden is unclear.

More, as president he will make decisions that directly impact the financial well-being of the Trump Organization, whoever is at the helm. As critic Judd Legum from Press Progress pointed out, this has potential constitutional implications, as Trump will also receive money from various governments around the world who are invested in his businesses. (Since Trump failed to disclose his tax returns, the full extent and nature of the connections between his company's profits deriving from world leaders or from governments' themselves is unclear.) 

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Trump has said he wants to leave the management of his extensive business interests to his children. He is also reportedly getting a security clearance for his son-in-law Jared Kushner so he can continue as a special adviser. The Wall Street Journal reports that Kushner himself could face scrutiny for conflict-of-interest.

Meanwhile, unprecedentedly, Trump's daughter, Ivanka, sat in during the president-elect's meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The meeting held in Trump Towers was called "informal", but still, it was only made public because the Japanese government released the photos in what is a departure from the expectation of normal White House transparency. Trump's team prevented any American journalists from covering the meeting. 

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Legum also pointed out that Trump never actually explicitly stated that he was selling his company, Trump Organization. Whether Trump will permanently sever himself from anything and everything to do with his company remains to be seen. Doing so appears to be the only way he can create meaningful separation between his personal profits and the enormous powers he will gain in his upcoming role as President of the United States.

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(WION)

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