Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Liz Kennedy Praises Senate Resolution Urging President-Elect Trump to Sever Relationship with Private Business
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Liz Kennedy Praises Senate Resolution Urging President-Elect Trump to Sever Relationship with Private Business

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a resolution Tuesday stating the sense of the Congress that President-elect Donald Trump comply with the U.S. Constitution and divest himself of all interests in his business assets and relationship to the Trump Organization. Liz Kennedy, Director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

It is time for President-elect Trump to put the interests of the American people and his constitutional obligation to the office of the presidency ahead of personal financial interest. By mixing business interests with his official role as president-elect, he is effectively putting the presidency itself on the auction block. The proposal floated for separating the Trump Organization from Trump’s presidency is not a blind trust, it is a bling trust.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution were gravely worried about corruption, particularly foreign corruption of domestic affairs. They sought to prevent conflicts of interest and abuse of power by barring the president from receiving any financial benefit beyond his salary. Yet President-elect Trump is in a position to profit enormously off of his presidency, at great cost to the American people and their global interests. Already, foreign powers are funneling money and favors through the Trump Organization, with building permits and hotel bookings, in what appear to be efforts to curry favor with the incoming administration.

The American people must be able to have faith that the president of the United States is making decisions in their best interests and not for personal financial gain. The Senate resolution notes that if the president-elect refuses to comply with the textual prohibitions in the Constitution, in the absence of congressional authorization regarding his foreign payments and favors, Congress will regard this ethical swamp as a potential constitutional violation. I commend the senators for the resolution and urge every member of Congress to defend the integrity of the U.S. government and Constitution.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.

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