Warren Tweaks Trump on Conflicts of Interest, Then He Proves Her Point
Policy + Politics

Warren Tweaks Trump on Conflicts of Interest, Then He Proves Her Point

Reuters/Yuri Gripas

A day after presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump said that an Indiana-born judge hearing a case against the now-defunct Trump University has a “conflict of interest” in the case because of Trump’s promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, one of the candidate’s chief Democratic antagonists went after him for potential conflicts of his own.

And Trump, on Twitter, inadvertently took the opportunity to prove her point.

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Trump has been blasting Judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “hater” for days, and yesterday declared that his Mexican heritage makes him automatically biased against Trump. On Friday, though, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took Trump to task for what she sees as the real conflicts of interest that would arise with Trump in the White House.

In a statement to Mother Jones magazine, she pointed out that Trump’s widespread business interests -- which he has promised to turn over to his children if he’s elected -- would create a minefield of conflicts and dubious incentives for a President Trump.

“The job of the President is to enforce the law fairly,” she said. “If a serial lawbreaker like Deutsche Bank is caught manipulating markets again, how would Trump hold it accountable knowing that the bank had the power to pull the plug on his own businesses? That's a question that should worry every American. These financial entanglements—along with many of his other ongoing business concerns and arrangements—present huge conflicts of interest.”

While there’s no reason to believe Trump knew about Warren’s comment at the time, on Friday Trump used his Twitter account to tout the opening of a new Trump-branded golf resort in Scotland.

While Trump might legally transfer his holdings to his children, the Trump family will still have a global web of connections to hotels, businesses and brands worldwide. And while there might not be much danger of the UK government trying to twist Trump’s arm by, say, withholding approval for something the family want to do at the Turnberry, can the same be said for Dubai, where his name adorns a golf resort? Or in China, where neckties, clothing and other Trump-branded accessories are manufactured?

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Clearly, Trump might be able to completely separate himself from his family’s financial interests and make decisions without regard to their effect on his former businesses. But it seems safe to predict that the first time President Trump makes a decision that can be construed as soft on a country that hosts one of his former businesses -- or backs a domestic policy that seems friendly to his strong of US hotels, the cries of conflict of interest from Democrats will be loud and persistent.