Cashing in on the Presidency

A note on Donald Trump. When he takes office tomorrow, he will be in violation of a Constitutional ban on receiving money from foreign interests, “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Trump still owns his company, and it takes in payments from foreigners in many ways. Since being elected, he has used his status as President-elect multiple times to meet with foreign officials and press them for help with his company’s business deals. Trump will also be in violation of the Constitution in another way. Trump properties in the US receive favorable tax treatment (tax abatements and rebates), these are a common part of real estate deals. The President is banned from receiving payments from the States under the Constitution. Trump has refused to sell his business, and plans to use the Presidency to increase his wealth. This is plain corruption, using the office of the Presidency for illegitimate private gain.

A don’t expect that conservatives will complain about Trump’s violation of the Constitution. Many conservatives have taken to calling themselves ‘Constitutional Conservatives’, but they will not utter a peep about Trump’s violation of these Constitutional anti-corruption measures. ‘Constitutional Conservative’ was always a proud name for shabby blanket opposition to President Obama. It was always about partisanship for them, not law or the Constitution. Trump’s self dealing will not attract the attention of the Republican majority Congress, they will do little or no investigation, nor demand Trump follow the rules laid out in the Constitution. Republicans will retreat to the President Nixon’s “If the President does it, it’s not illegal” excuse.

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