Trump’s Unconstitutional Conflict of Interest
By: Kaitlyn Brown

By: Kaitlyn Brown






One thing that many Americans were worried about after Donald Trump was elected into the office of President of the United States was how his refusal to place his businesses into a blind trust would affect the decisions he made regarding his policies. It is inevitable that it will happen, Trump has companies that are worth billions of dollars. While he is sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, Trump has the opportunity to have a major say in the policies, as well as all the executive orders he has been signing, that could affect his companies and his investments. Is it so shocking that he would make sure his companies would either benefit or remain unaffected? No. It is not.

Recently, Trump signed an executive order titled: Protection of Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into The United States. This order states that all those who are from certain “terror-prone” are barred from entering into the United States for 90 days and that the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has been suspended for 120 days until it is reinstated, but only for nationals of countries to which members of Trumps cabinets deem can be vetted. The countries that have been affected by this ban are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Trump has stated that the reasoning behind his order was to keep people like those who participated in the attacks in San Bernardino and 9/11 from entering the country. However, NPR’s Greg Myre has stated that, “No Muslim extremist from any of those places has carried out a fatal attack in the U.S. in more than two decades.” That cannot be said for the Muslim-majority counties that are not affected by trumps ban, but that it okay because Trump does business with them.

Except it is not okay. Trump used terrorist attacks to explain his executive order and further his own agenda. So either he simply did not know and seriously needs to pick up a history book or he is trying to manipulate people. One of the perpetrators in the San Bernardino attack was a United States born citizen and the other was born in Pakistan. The 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attack were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates; all Muslim-majority countries that are not listed on the ban list. They are also all countries in which Trump does business with. Other Muslim-majority countries in which Trump does business with, Turkey, Indonesia and Azerbaijan, are also not on the list.

Trump has quite a lot of business in these countries, which means he has a lot of interest to protect. In Saudi Arabia, Trump registered eight companies that are tied to hotel interest in August of 2015. During the election he stated, “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” Really? For a man who is so insistent that he is going to eradicate this Earth of all terrorist and likes to group people together so much, should he really “like them very much.” The majority of the hijackers from 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and considering Trump does like to group people together (because if one Muslim is a terrorist they all must be right?) then in his book doesn’t that make all Saudis terrorist? Saudi Arabia is also known for previously funding Al-Qaeda and currently funding ISIS, two known terrorist organizations. Also, according to CATO, citizens from Saudi Arabia have killed over 2,639 Americans since 1975, while citizens on the ban list have killed…wait for it….0.

Trump has two companies in Egypt, Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC. In the United Arab Emirates, the Trump Organization has a licensing and management deal in Dubai for two golf courses as well as an entire neighborhood of luxury villas that are currently under construction. In Turkey, he is licensing his name for two towers in Istanbul, for which the shares have surged nearly 11% since his election. All of these countries have a history of terrorism, however, none of them are listed under Trump’s Muslim ban because it would ruin his business interest in those countries. Trump overlooked multiple terrorist linked countries and made sure that his companies would not suffer when he signed his executive order.

Not only is this dangerous, it is definitely unconstitutional as well. Norman Eisen, President Obama’s former ethics advisers and current fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution states:

“I don’t believe that our Constitution allows the president to order State Department and other U.S. government employees to discriminate between otherwise identical people, favoring those from countries he likes because they give him unconstitutional foreign emoluments, and punishing those from other countries that do not pay such personal and illegal tribute to him.”

There is a provision in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, that states “any person holding any office of profit or trust, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, office, or title from a king, prince or foreign state.” This is called the Emolument Clause. I know Donald Trump probably thinks that the office of the President of the U.S. gives him more power, but the fact of the matter is that it does not. He cannot treat other countries differently simply because he will get more money in his pocket. That is unconstitutional.

Eisen also states, “Normally he would, of course, have freer rein legally in these foreign policy, immigration and refugee matters, but his open and notorious violation of the Constitution changes that. This is the corrupt misconduct of a medieval potentate, not an American president.” Thankfully, Trump’s executive order can be challenged in court because there is an obvious unconstitutional basis for his decision on who to let into the country and who not to let it. Not only is he singling out Muslims which on its own is religious discrimination, but it is also centered around the countries that will make a profit for his businesses.


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