Trump vs. the Emoluments Clause
Since day one, Trump has leveraged his public office to profit from the presidency at the expense of American taxpayers. Unlike prior presidents, Trump refused to divest himself from his businesses and continues to directly benefit from any profits they accrue. Trump takes advantage of this by funneling official government business through his properties, both domestically and abroad, for his own financial gain.
Trump has spent nearly a third of his presidency at his own properties — over 300 days — with those properties charging the U.S. federal government for expenses incurred by his security detail and other staff. He’s also steered administration, government, and military officials to stay at his resorts, driving millions more in taxpayer dollars to his businesses. For example, in September 2019, Trump demanded Mike Pence stay at his Doonbeg resort in Ireland, despite Pence’s meetings being across the country, 180 miles away. The U.S. Air Force has also propped up his failing Turnberry resort in Scotland by redirecting refueling routes.
Dozens of foreign governments spend money at Trump properties as a means of currying favor. To date, 127 foreign officials from 72 foreign governments have visited Trump-owned properties, putting money directly into his pocket.
Further, in October 2019, the White House announced that Trump’s Doral resort in Miami would be the site of the 2020 G7 summit. Although the decision was reversed in the face of public outcry, the multimillion-dollar conference of world leaders would’ve funneled millions of foreign and U.S. government dollars directly into Trump’s pocket — and would’ve propped up yet another of his failing businesses.
Not only does this unethical behavior raise serious concerns about the motivations behind Trump’s policies, it is also illegal. Trump’s actions violate the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, which forbid a president from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, the federal government, or individual states.