This Week in Donald Trump's Conflicts of Interest: A golf course in Dubai and so much more!

Trump continues to risk violating the emoluments clause — and push for policies that will profit himself

Published January 7, 2017 11:30AM (EST)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

This has been an interesting week when it comes to exploring Donald Trump's multiple conflicts of interest. Let's dive in!

Donald Trump has a golf course opening in Dubai less than a month after his inauguration

Trump's first golf course in the Arab world is going to open in Dubai in February, as The Week reported on Tuesday. Located in a development owned by DAMAC Properties, a real estate company based in Dubai, the course would be dependent on the government of the United Arab Emirates for services including electricity, water and transportation access. Unless Trump totally divests himself from this business enterprise, any profit he makes off of the course could very well violate the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits public officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congress's permission.

Trump's legislative policies will make him really rich

A number of Trump's economic policies would personally benefit the president-elect's wallet. His elimination of regulations on Wall Street and other big businesses would naturally strengthen his vast business empire, and while it isn't unusual for Republican presidents with business connections to support economic programs that will benefit their various enterprises, the very reason why they've divested from them while in office is to at least maintain the appearance of not personally profiting from their policies. Similarly, his tax reform agenda is clearly skewed to benefit the rich. For instance, Trump promises to repeal the estate tax, which only applies to a fraction of the 1 percent — but which, if Trump's repeated self-valuation of $10 billion is accurate, would allow him to save roughly $4 billion.

Then again, his proposals fit the Republican party line.

Some of Trump's own supporters are getting worried about his conflicts of interest

The sheer volume of the president-elect's conflicts of interest is so mind-boggling that Republicans -- including former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former Rep. Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma (who had chaired the House Republican Policy Committee), former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, political consultant John Pudner, and Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute -- have signed a letter urging the president-elect to sell his businesses.

"Respectfully, you cannot serve the country as president and also own a world-wide business enterprise, without seriously damaging the presidency," the letter stated.

It remains to be seen whether or not Trump will do that.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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