Why You Should Care About Trump’s Conflicts of Interest


Becky Chen, Staff Writer

For the past two years, President Trump’s numerous and encompassing conflicts of interest have plagued his presidency, with a new report released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealing he has more than 1,400 known conflicts of interest. This is because he insists on holding onto his hotels, clubs, real estate, and licensing interests around the world. Why is this so important?

By having the President disclose financial interests and divest interest that poses as a potential conflict, there is financial transparency. Unlike all recent major party presidential candidates, Trump did not make public his tax returns. We have to understand that every modern President has released their tax returns and put their assets into a blind trust to make sure the only interest they have is the interest of our country and its people. So when Trump refuses to do just that although there is no legislation that requires him to do so, we have to question whether or not he’s our President after all, or just a businessman like he was before.

If Trump revealed his tax returns, we could learn: how much taxable income he made, how much he paid in taxes, his charitable contributions and whether he paid tax to any foreign governments.

Most importantly, Trump hiding his tax returns could pose as threat to national security. Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, filed a lawsuit against the President for violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution. When we don’t know what our President is up to, it’s possible to assume that he could be receiving gifts from foreign countries which would influence his presidency. The foreign emoluments clause in the Constitution, which was framed to avoid problems of split loyalty, is immediately at threat if Trump does not come clean about his tax returns.

The fact that every modern President has been able to do so while still functioning properly shows us that there’s no harm for the President to as well. We must remember that Trump isn’t a businessman anymore, he’s our President. A petition on the White House website calling for Trump to disclose his tax returns has acquired over 260,000 signatures and counting. It’s what the people want, and it’s what Trump should do.

Graphic courtesy of WSJ.COM