Washington, DC—In response to the release of the Trump Organization’s plan for dealing with unconstitutional payments to the president from foreign governments, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Noah Bookbinder released the following statement:
The Trump Organization’s plan for dealing with payments from foreign governments is wholly inadequate. The best way to address President Trump’s constitutional violations is complete divestment from all his businesses. This effort to address the problem is not a serious one. This policy only addresses his hotels and resorts and not the many other benefits he’s taking from foreign governments, such as the rent paid by China in Trump Tower or the valuable trademarks the Chinese government has given him since he became president.
Even within the scope of this policy applying to hotels and resorts, the plan does not come close to addressing the full problem. It specifically says it is not accounting for individual guests. You don’t get to violate the Constitution and then say you’re only going to address some instances and not others because it’s inconvenient to do so.
Additionally, addressing only profits is not sufficient, as the Constitution bans a much broader set of payments from foreign governments—there is nothing in the text to suggest that the prohibited benefits are limited to profits, as even without profit, payments help his businesses, and he could be favorably disposed to these foreign nations that support his businesses even if there are no profits. Finally, profits can be very subjective, and the Trump Organization has given us no reason to trust that their calculation of profits–without any outside oversight–is comprehensive or even accurate.