President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that he plans to leave his business entirely in preparation for taking office, calling it “visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”
In a series of tweets, Trump said that legal documents “are being crafted which will take me completely out of business operations and that he would hold a press conference on Dec. 15 with his children to further discuss his departure from the business.
Trump’s business interests potentially pose significant conflicts of interest for the president-elect around the world, from the Phillippines (where one of his business partners also serves as one of the country’s special envoys to the United States) to Brazil (where he owns property). Those potential conflicts extend even to Washington, D.C., where he opened a hotel this year leasing from the federal government. But that 60-year lease included a clause prohibiting any elected official from having a share in ownership, which Trump does.
Though Trump said on the campaign trail that he would eventually hand off his assets in a trust to three of his children, legal experts have said that such an arrangement would not be enough to satisfy the requirements of a blind trust or fully avoid future conflicts of interest.
In an interview with The New York Times last week, Trump suggested he had already begun separating himself from his business by handing some tasks to his three eldest children, but that as president, “the law’s totally on my side — the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
“In theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly,” he told the paper, later adding, “But I would like to do something. I would like to try and formalize something, because I don’t care about my business.”
Greg Gordon contributed to this story.