President Donald Trump has found a way to circumvent his so-called “blind trust,” allowing him to access funds from his business accounts whenever he likes — and without publicly disclosing his withdrawals when he does so.
Trump had received quite a bit of criticism for his plans to put his business dealings in a “blind trust” that would be managed by members of his immediate family, namely his two eldest sons. Such an arrangement, most experts agree, doesn’t even fit the definition of a blind trust at all.
Now, according to reporting from ProPublica, it’s been revealed that Trump can make withdrawals from his accounts at any time. A trust certification change that was made on February 10 of this year allows the president to receive income from over 400 business dealings “at his request,” under vague terms “as the Trustees deem necessary.” This effectively negates Trump’s promise to hand over the management of his global real estate empire over to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, as he promised in a news conference held just prior to his inauguration.
Making withdrawals from his accounts allows the president to have information about how they are doing, eliminating the idea that his trusts are “blind” at all. Indeed, it’s already been revealed that President Trump will be receiving regular “profitability reports” from his son, Eric Trump, who will be among those managing his business interests. In an appearance at the Brookings Institute shortly after Trump announced his plans to hand off his businesses to his adult sons, Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub called the plan “inadequate.”
“I appreciate that divestiture can be costly,” Shaub said at the time. “But he is going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. He is going to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts around the word. So, no, I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay for being president of the United States of America.”
Chris Walker been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.