Here’s the most convincing argument I’ve read for Donald Trump to divest himself of his businesses and put all possible conflicts – real or imagined – firmly in Neverland. As Jonathan Bernstein writes in Bloomberg View, even if Trump supporters believe their man to be “entirely incorruptible”, they should be keen for him to divest.
For good reason, as we shall see. Mr Trump’s enemies and potential enemies could constantly be threatening the president with impeachment. Even if it doesn’t seem possible right now, what about anytime there’s a lessening of love with the Republicans? And what happens if the Republicans lose the House majority after the 2018 mid-term elections? Would the Democrats not seize on a way to make life difficult for President Trump?
As Mr Bernstein writes, “Trump’s business entanglements are an impressive cudgel for Congress to hold as a way of keeping him in line.”
He goes on to point out another potential problem for President Trump. “Anyone his companies do business with, even if Trump is not involved in day-to-day management (but retains full or partial ownership, or probably even family ownership), could be in a position to influence the president by threatening accusations of illegal or unethical transactions. And this ‘anyone’ could include foreign nations.”
That’s because conflict of interest is a pretty loose category. And so, warns Mr Bernstein, it’s important for Mr Trump to divest. Even if you’re a Trump supporter and don’t care about political convention, the “appearance” of corruption and firmly believe your man will always put “the nation first, even if it costs him personally.”