Donald Trump may be trying to get himself impeached before he even actually takes office.
Despite putting his businesses in a blind trust (which actually isn’t a blind trust, because his children are running it – and that’s not at all how blind trusts work), Trump, and his kids, met with some key Indian business partners less than a week after winning the presidency.
Trump met with Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia, and Kalpesh Mehta, who are working with him on a luxury apartment building near Mumbai that will boast the Trump brand name. A photo of the group meeting together was Tweeted last Tuesday.
Trump’s incoming administration seems to be fraught with conflict of interest problems. Trump vowed to hand off all his business interests to his adult children under a blind trust, then he assigned them, as well as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to his presidential transition team.
According to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for Trump described it as a “courtesy call” from the Indian real estate businessmen, who flew into the U.S. in order to congratulate Trump on his presidential win. Breanna Butler told the Times:
“It was not a formal meeting of any kind.”
Ms. Butler and Trump’s usual spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, declined to answer questions about whether the meeting with the Trump involved business discussions. However, the three Indian real estate executives were quoted in the Economic Times as having discussed business expansion with Donald Trump Jr. Kalpesh Mehta told the Economic Times:
‘We didn’t get a chance to talk about currency demonetisation with Mr Trump. But, his kids knew about it and they termed it as an incredibly bold move.’
Washington ethics lawyers have told The New York Times that the meeting with Indian business partners would raise conflict of interest questions, no matter the subject of the discussions. Robert L. Walker, former chief counsel of the Senate Ethics Committee, told the Times:
‘There may be people for whom this looks OK. But for a large part of the American public, it is not going to be OK. His role as president-elect should dictate that someone else handles business matters.’
It’s not OK. It shouldn’t be OK with the majority of Americans. A President should be focused on leading the country, not on building buildings to put his name on.