Never has a President had so many business partners in so many countries. Being rich is no problem, lots of Presidents have been rich, but with 144 businesses operating in 25 countries it is difficult to see how Mr. #trump can even be inaugurated, let alone have an Administration free of serious ethical conflicts every place he turns. Senator Ben Cardon (D) Maryland, has promised to introduce a bill blocking President Elect Trump from taking the oath of office until he and his entire family divests themselves of all business holdings.

The problem lies in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of The Constitution which says no one can hold public office and take any gift from any foreign government.

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For a President Trump that would include tax breaks, payments from governments which own buildings they pay to have the Trump name on, and so forth. Very likely that would include any foreign government official staying in any Trump hotel here in D.C. but that probably wont be a problem (see below).

Not just Democratic sour grapes

Richard Painter, legal counsel to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama agrees with Senator Cardon. Mr. Painter has made a formal request to the Electoral College to not vote until Mr. Trump divests himself of all foreign interests.

Trump hotel

Mr. Trump made a big deal about renovating an old building in D.C. into a first class hotel. But getting elected President means he will be in violation of his lease on the property with the Government Services Administration or GSA, which actually owns the building.

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A clause in his lease says, “No elected official shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease or to any benefit that may arise there from.” And that means the President can't lease this property from the GSA and his kids probably can't either if he gets any benefit.

Divest Trump Inc.?

Just how difficult would it be for Mr. Trump to get out of most of these business deals? Many of them involve hotels or other properties which he doesn’t actually own. Despite his claim to be a big real estate tycoon, the truth is that many properties with the Trump name on them belong to someone else. The Trump Organization leases its name to “class up” the joint, so to speak. Of course we don’t know exactly what conflicts of interest and ethical problems a President Trump will face because he never released his taxes so we only have rumors that he is in debt to Russians, perhaps some Chinese, and foreign banks.

Other conflicts?

Would you consider it an ethical problem or #conflict of interest if the person in charge of The Justice Department owed more than a billion dollars to a foreign bank currently under investigation? Some would.

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The Bank is Deutsche Bank, and the borrower is President Elect Trump.

On November 22 Mr. Trump said that the people who elected him knew he had lots of business interests and, “Only the crooked media makes this [conflicts of interest] a big deal.” After some thought he later told the New York Times Editorial Board, “The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

Perks from conflicts don’t have to be requested to be real. Since the election a Trump resort in Batumi which has been on hold since 2013 is now going ahead full steam. You may not be familiar with the resort town of Batumi. It is located in Georgia. Not the on next to South Carolina, the one on the Black Sea which used to be the Soviet Republic of Georgia.

Secret Service profits

Not a conflict perhaps, but an ethically questionable profit center, the Secret Service has been paying airfare to fly on Trump’s private airplanes (an estimated $2.4 million so far) which they only do to protect him. After he takes office he will be on Air Force One and Marine One (helicopter) but if his family continues to fly on Trump aircraft and helicopters, their Secret Service detail will have to pay their own airfare in addition to the $1 million they are reportedly paying to lease a floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. #inauguration