Trump’s Presidency: A Familial Move

Can Trump draw a line between Presidency and family?

Norman Eisen remarked that Mr Trump’s family is using the U.S presidency “like the Kardashians used the reality TV”. The lucid remarks arose from Mrs Trump’s legal documents outlining her strategies to start “multi-million-dollar business relationships” under the influence of her relationship with the White House.

In the billionaire calculation index by Bloomberg, it was revealed that Trump is richer in property. He has invested huge sums of money in private businesses for exclusive gain. While it is true that the President has delegated the routine management of properties, real estates and business licensing to a long-time Trump Organization employee and adult sons, a lawsuit review revealed that the First Lady has never parted her brand; including such products as cosmetics, jewellery, clothing, etc. And in early January, Eric Trump’s jetted business trip to Uruguay cost taxpayers a sum of $97,830 in hotel bills.

The Trump’s family is gaining from the “familial presidency” in several ways. First, the “Winter White House” Mar-a-Lago has diversified how Washington does business with the world. The intermediary is cut off the business chain by the face-time contributions – a $200,000 membership fee and $14,000 annual subscriptions – at the club. The fee is a doubled sum following Trump’s election victory, similar to Trump’s Turnberry Golf Club in Scotland which revised its annual fee by a 38% raise. (This is a “pay to play” for foreign governments in securing intelligence assets in Mar-a-Lago). Second, domestic policy on business lies in the construction of Trump International hotel close to Washington D.C. The Trump-owned business is paid for by foreign diplomats, a scenario that raises a constitutional issue –a violation of the “emolument clause” , contained in the U.S Constitution.

Third, Trump seems to have won a decade-long election competition to trademark his name in China. Trump is using the presidential office as a bargaining chip. For instance, he has 49 pending trademark applications, with 77 already registered under his name. Consequently, the special treatment from the Chinese government qualifies the violation of the emolument clause. Lastly, the Trump family has less formally mixed up the government and familial business. Trump’s Twitter tantrum against Nordstrom after dropping Ivanka’s clothing line violated the prohibition against misuse of position. On a different occasion, Ivanka Trump’s business corporation flogged about $10,800 bracelet during a post-election interview. Subsequently, Mr Trump invited her for a transition meeting with the Japanese prime minister, a period when she was settling a business deal in the country. (The State Department declined to provide any statistics on Trump’s family expenditure around the world).

Trump is governing the U.S as though it is a subsidiary to the Trump Organization, a familial business corporation from which Trump has denied divesting from. In this view, the Trump family stands the chance to benefit financially from their relationship with the U.S presidency. Mixing Presidential politics and family business constitutes the perception of unfairness and nepotism. Several problems are inherent with familial-like Presidency. First, misappropriation of public funds – concessions favouring private family affairs hive off resources from the general public. Second, leaders become blindsided to such vices as corruption and personal problems. This is made possible by the family and hangers-on insulation of information that would otherwise help the political figure question his economically destructive favouritism. Further, the international markets receive terrible indicators from family favouritism, especially during economic uncertainty.


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