When this country collectively voted a reality T.V. star with a global business empire into office, there was inevitably going to be some questions about his conflicts of interest.
But, when Trump was elected, he took an oath to serve the American people—not his personal interests. So, he handed his business interests over to his children…Not exactly reassuring. Sure, he’s no longer in charge of “day-to-day operations,” but he has not divested one penny of his business assets.
So, there is a heap of evidence that Trump could potentially be making foreign and domestic policy decisions to advance his own interests.
Here’s are two examples: four days after Trump took office, he signed an executive order allowing the continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As recently as 2016, Trump owned stock in the company building the pipeline worth as much as $1,000,000.
Remember the Carrier plant in Indiana that Trump took credit for saving? There is also evidence that Trump has interests in Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies.
But more troubling than his economic gains are the national security issues involved with foreign entanglements. Four men involved in Trump’s administration have already come under scrutiny for their ties to Russia, and there is some evidence to suggest Trump may have business ties with Russia as well.
It seems like, no matter what your political beliefs, this is an ethical issue. The President of the United States should be acting on behalf of your safety and your wellbeing, not jeopardizing environmental, consumer, and foreign protections to make a buck.
But here’s the really scary thing: Because Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns, we really have no idea just how deep his conflicts of interest go and which countries they span. This means, whenever Trump makes a decision about any national priority, we should rightfully be asking whether this is for his benefit or ours.
If you’re not terrified by the fact that our President may be financially beholden to a country like Russia, or that he is pushing for policy that will line his own pockets, you may at least be angry that he’s likely taking money directly away from you.
There’s no question he is profiting off of taxpayer money, we just don’t know to what extent.
Take, for example, the Secret Service agents protecting Trump and his family. On the campaign trail, the Secret Service reimburses candidates for the cost of traveling. But, because Trump was using planes from a company he owns, taxpayer money was going directly to Trump’s bottom line.
The point is this: American taxpayers have no idea where Trump’s financial interests lie. For a country that values transparency and public service, this is a huge red flag.
If you think Trump should release his tax returns, you’re not alone. About 75% of Americans agree, and almost 50% of his own supporters. This is not a partisan issue—so let’s not let Congress make it one.
Here’s what we can do:
- Call, E-mail, or text your senators and get them to vote for S. 65. Here’s what it does:
The legislation would require the president and vice president to both reveal and divest themselves from any potential financial conflicts of interest. The bill would also apply for presidential and vice presidential spouses, children, and appointees.
The legislation would also require both major party presidential nominees to publicly release their tax returns from the preceding three years.
- Tell your Congressman to support Representative Nadler’s resolution of inquiry asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide copies of intelligence records having to do with Trump’s conflicts of interest and any information on his White House team’s ties to Russia.
- Sign this petition calling for the release of his tax return that has already collected over 750,000 signatures. Big league.
For a President that has put together the wealthiest cabinet ever, I cannot stress how important it is for the public to know what is driving the decisions of these public officials If we let this slide, we’re giving up our ability to hold these officials accountable for the job we elected them to do.