A new report released on March 22 found President Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” at every turn. Instead, he has turned the government over to corporate interests and enriched his bottom line.
The joint report from advocacy groups Public Citizen and Every Voice analyses the two months since Trump took office. It concludes that the new administration is mired in corruption and conflicts of interests. The president himself has hired the very figures he claimed he would fight — big-money donors, lobbyists and Wall Street executives.
In fact, the administration has even failed to live up to its own “painfully inadequate” ethics standards, the groups said.
That includes refusing to divest from his corporate empire, conducting private business deals overseas while decrying foreign trade, and failing to donate the Trump Organization’s foreign profits to the US Treasury — thereby violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, according to Public Citizen and other watchdogs.
The report, “Broken Promises: How Trump Is Profiting Off the Presidency and Empowering Lobbyists and Big Donors”, outlines some of the discrepancies between what Trump promised and what he has actually done:
- Trump promised: To “isolate” himself from the management of the Trump family businesses.
In reality: Trump’s business partners were invited to his inauguration; a Kuwaiti Embassy event at a Trump hotel raised questions about violations of the foreign bribery clause of the Constitution; Trump’s rollback of environmental protections will benefit his golf courses.
- Trump promised: That the Trump businesses will not pursue “new” foreign deals.
In reality: After a decade of inaction, the family businesses restarted a Dominican Republic project; a fight over trademarks of Trump’s name in China was settled weeks after his inauguration, with the country approving the trademarks shortly after Trump asserted US support for the “One China policy”; a businessperson with ties to Chinese intelligence just bought a penthouse from Trump.
- Trump promised: To donate foreign profits from his Washington, DC, hotel to the US Treasury.
In reality: He has not donated these profits; the Trump Organization announced that the donation would be made at the end of the year. It remains unclear how the profit will be calculated, and the money received from foreign entities that isn't profit still violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
- Trump promised: To appoint an independent ethics officer for the Trump businesses.
In reality: He appointed a loyal Republican election lawyer and a long-time attorney for the Trump family business. It’s not clear whether vetting is actually happening.
David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice, a group that fights against big money in politics, said of Trump: “In just two months, he has shown himself to be everything that on the campaign trail he expressed to hate about Washington — a self-dealer more interested in helping his friends and big donors than creating a democracy that works for all of us.”
[Abridged from Common Dreams.]