By David Schmidt
Recently, the Ambassador of Kuwait held a celebration for the country’s National Day, which is Kuwait’s equivalent to the U.S.’s Independence Day. Traditionally the celebration was held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington D.C., but last year and this year the Ambassador altered the festivities to take place at different venues. This year’s festivities took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. Many have raised concern about the choice, stating that, “Kuwait is trying to curry favor with the new U.S. President.” This, however, is something that the Ambassador has struck down, stating that they were under no such pressure by the current U.S. Administration to use the facility. The Ambassador has stated that Kuwait is assisting the American Military because it is house to thousands of U.S. forces “due to the country being a key partner for the United States security strategy for the Middle East.”
Still, the real concern is not the celebration, but the fact that Trump has numerous businesses throughout the world, which many experts state this leads to conflicts of interest. As quoted by Norm Eisen, an ethics expert at the Brookings Institution, “That’s what the framers put in the Constitution in the emoluments clause, because they were so worried about swag, any kind of swag, coming to an American President just for the reasons … that it would distort presidential decision-making to benefit himself.” (NPR) The Emolument Clause reads “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States, and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” (heritage.org) The clause is found in Article 1 Section 9 Clause 8 of the United States Constitution. This is the main focal point of interest to many law and political science scholars, who are analyzing the Trump administration and the President himself, as this little unknown piece of the Constitution has a potential to become relevant and has the potential to make a splash.
Also, many wonder if this could have the potential to foster a movement to impeach the president. Recently President Trump’s attorney has provided a response to that issue by stating that all proceeds and profits made by the President’s businesses, such as the Trump International Hotel in Washington, with foreign governments will be given to the department of treasury, therefore, curtailing the possibility of any conflicts of interest. Besides that, President Trump has also put his two cents into the solution of this issue, which is to create a “revocable trust and parked his vast business interests in it.” (NPR) The revocable trust in layman’s terms states that Trump has removed himself from the management of the businesses by placing family members into positions of power in these businesses. However, many legal scholars have said that Trump is still benefiting even with the trust initiated.