Trump says will back away from business to focus on White House
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to step back from running his global business empire to avoid conflicts of interest, as concern over his dual role mounts ahead of the Republican's inauguration on Jan. 20, Reuters reported.
Trump, a real estate magnate who owns hotels and golf resorts from Panama to Scotland, said he will spell out at a Dec. 15 news conference how he will separate himself "in total" from his worldwide business holdings, which include a winery, modeling agency, and a range of other businesses.
After Trump won the Nov. 8 election, his company, the Trump Organization, had said it was looking at new business structures with the goal of transferring control to Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump - three of his adult children who are involved with the company.
Trump gave few details in a series of early morning tweets on Wednesday, but said "legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations" and said his children will attend the news conference. He did not say what the planned change might mean for ownership of his businesses.
His children are also on the executive committee of his White House transition team. His daughter Ivanka joined a telephone call his father had with Argentine President Mauricio Macri earlier this month and attended a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, raising concerns about possible conflicts of interests.
A brand name around the globe, Trump had previously argued that he had no need to separate himself from the Trump Organization, which includes a hotel down the street from the White House, a Manhattan tower where he lives and is running his transition to office, and a New Jersey golf course where he interviewed cabinet candidates earlier this month.
Trump said on Wednesday he is not required by law to alter his relationship with his business, but added: "I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses."
As the Republican heads toward taking over the White House from President Barack Obama, scrutiny of potential conflicts has grown. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill called for hearings on the issue.
Rules on conflict of interest for executive branch employees do not apply to the president, but Trump will be bound by bribery laws, disclosure requirements and a section of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits elected officials from taking gifts from foreign governments.
The nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics said in a statement it applauded Trump's aims, and recommended Trump completely divest his holdings rather that transfer control.