This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: When Ivanka and Melania tried to cash in

It isn't just Trump himself who hopes to profit from a Trump presidency

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 11, 2017 11:30AM (EST)

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

Donald Trump's family is now ready to make money off the presidency, with an assist from the White House.

Ivanka Trump wants you to buy her stuff.

Because Ivanka Trump isn't employed by the White House, there is no immediate conflict of interest posed by her wanting to continue profiting off of her fashion line, which was unceremoniously dumped by Nordstrom and other retail outlets this week. But there was a conflict when the president used his official presidential Twitter account to retweet a message bashing Nordstrom. And this week, one of his top aides openly promoted Ivanka's products.

The rest of the political world — including the head of Congress' committee on oversight — seems to have taken notice.

Melania Trump is upset that she's lost a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to profit from being first lady.

While the first lady was understandably miffed at The Daily Mail for spreading a false rumor that she had once worked as an escort, her lawsuit against the publication complained that she had lost "multimillion-dollar business relationships" that would have occurred due to her "unique, once in a lifetime opportunity" to act as "one of the most photographed women in the world."

That sounds an awful lot like she was trying to rake in the big bucks from being first lady, subsequent denials notwithstanding.

Trump's actions to separate himself from his business empire were effectively meaningless.

Independent experts have long had doubts over whether Trump's so-called attempts to avoid conflicts of interest with his business empire have been adequate. Now we know, thanks to a report by the New York Times last week, that the trustees of Trump's business empire are going to be his own son, Donald Jr., and the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen H. Weisselberg. President Trump will continue to receive reports on the financial situation within his businesses and can revoke their authority at any time.

The military is going to spend millions protecting Trump at Trump Tower.

Anyone who has tried to go near Trump Tower while the president is there can attest to what a pain it has been, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear he isn't thrilled about his city footing the bill for Trump's staying there. That said, there is now a new issue with Trump Tower — namely, the fact that the military is going to have to spend a pretty penny to protect the president while he stays there. How much? We're not sure, but the going rate to rent a floor there is $1.5 million a year.

PLUS: Trump's hosting the prime minister of Japan at Mar-a-Lago, a for-profit place that benefits him.

While Trump has said that he will personally foot the bill for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Mar-a-Lago, it's unclear what evidence the White House will provide that it happened.

Nevertheless, a president is going to have a world leader visit his club, which already doubled its rates after Trump was elected president.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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