Trump Promises to Leave His Businesses. We’ll Believe It When We See It.

“I feel it is visually important.”

Peter Foley/ZUMA

Amid mounting concerns over his ever-growing potential conflicts of interest, Donald Trump on Wednesday said he intends to abandon his businesses “in total” so he can properly lead the country. The president-elect posted a series of early-morning tweets:

Trump has insisted that despite concerns about massive conflicts of interest that have arisen since his election, he is under no legal obligation to distance himself from his businesses. “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest,” he told the New York Times last week. Trump is correct. The presidency is exempt from conflict-of-interest rules.

But his intention to transfer his business ties to his adult children will likely do little to ameliorate concerns over Trump’s various business entanglements. Legal experts note that simply knowing who controls the assets negates the blind trust arrangement. His announcement on Wednesday comes one day after the Kingdom of Bahrain revealed it was hosting a large celebration at Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel next month—the same property other foreign diplomats have said they feel pressured to stay at while in town.

“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!'” one Asian diplomat recently told the Washington Post. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?'”

Trump’s news conference on December 15 will be his first since becoming president-elect.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.