President Donald Trump’s business is back in the spotlight. Less than a week after the President reversed course on his plan to host next year’s G-7 at his Trump National Doral Miami in Florida, reports surfaced that his company plans to sell its DC Hotel, which has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging the President is profiting from it in violation of the Constitution. Trump’s defense is that he says he’s put his business “stuff” in a trust and that his family runs it. As of 2018, the President held more than $130 million in foreign assets in this trust, according to an analysis compiled by Open Secrets.
As a trustee, Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., who is also executive vice president of The Trump Organization, is responsible for looking after the beneficiary (the President) and the business’s bottom line. This arrangement has raised concerns that Trump and his family could use the presidency to profit personally. Since the 2016 election, Trump and his family members have defended the decision, claiming there is nothing improper about their business operations. The recent controversy surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his international business ties has added a new layer to conversations about the ethics around business done by the families of powerful politicians while they’re in office. It’s also spurred the President’s family to attempt to defend their own holdings.
In a recent Fox News interview, Eric, discussing Hunter’s dealings, noted that “the difference between us and Hunter is when my father became commander-in-chief of this country, we got out of all international business, right?” Not quite. Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-profit government watchdog group, told CNN that Eric’s claim was the “worst lie I’ve heard in a while.”
Facts First: President Trump’s three oldest children have all been involved with international business in some manner since his election. Furthermore, the President has made millions of dollars from foreign assets associated with the Trump Organization in 2017 and 2018, according to his public financial disclosure reports. The Trump Organization also continues to market, promote and expand Trump-branded properties all over the world, as recently as last month.