President-elect Donald Trump made a number of promises to his voters. Here is today’s post about a promise that he has already broken. “Today’s Broken Trump Promise” is certain to be a regular series.
During the campaign Trump promised again and again that he would separate his businesses from his presidency. On several occasions he promised to put his businesses into a “blind trust.” Dictionary.com defines a blind trust as “a trust in which a trustee controls the financial investments of a public official, without the beneficiary’s knowledge of how his or her affairs are administered, in order to avoid conflict of interest.”
A blind trust is used to avoid conflict of interest. It is useful to look at the definition of conflict of interest to understand what a blind trust is attempting to avoid, “the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence.”
So the point of a blind trust is to avoid circumstances where the public official might benefit from his or her official action. Trump repeatedly promised to do that.
How Does Trump Reward His Voters’ Blind Trust In Him
Trump campaigned against “Crooked Hillary,” claiming that Clinton had betrayed exactly this sort of conflict of interest. He repeated the charge so often that polls showed voters came to trust him more than they trusted Clinton. (Many apparently trusting him blindly.)
By campaigning against what he called “corruption” Trump made the implied promise that he would hold himself to the highest ethical standard. So it is reasonable to think that his voters now expect him to hold to a very high standard. How has Trump rewarded these voters for their trust?
Instead of setting up a blind trust by assigning a trustee to run his businesses Trump has named family members to do that job while he is president.
But wait there’s more. Trump has also named the people running his businesses to the “transition team” that chooses who will work in the new administration. The people applying to work in the new administration will literally be interviewed by the people running his businesses to see if they are suitable to work in positions where they will be regulating, enforcing laws that apply to, and awarding contracts to … wait for it … Trump’s businesses.
Putting the very people who run the president’s businesses on the team that hires for government positions is possibly the most blatant conflict of interest in American history.
And that is Today’s Broken Trump Promise.
P.S.: ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum tweeted a more comprehensive collection of recent Trump broken promises beginning here.