Tracking President Trump’s unprecedented conflicts of interest
President Trump’s refusal to divest from his global businesses when he entered office created the potential for unprecedented conflicts of interest that have since become one of the defining characteristics of his administration. As a result, one question pervades every action and policy decision of consequence made by his administration: Are President Trump’s actions driven by his duty to represent the best interests of the American people or by a self-serving pursuit of his own personal financial interests?
Since day one of the Trump administration, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has been tracking the conflicts of interest that stem from the president’s decision not to divest from the Trump Organization. They fall into five broad categories:
- Visits to Trump properties by foreign government officials, members of Congress, state government officials, and Trump administration officials, including Trump himself.
- Events that political organizations, foreign governments and foreign government-linked groups, and special-interest groups hold at Trump properties, possibly to buy access to and curry favor with the Trump administration.
- Instances in which President Trump and other White House officials have used their platform to publicly promote Trump Organization properties by mentioning or referencing them in official statements or on social media.
- Trademarks to Trump businesses given final or preliminary approval by foreign countries since President Trump entered the White House.
- Other interactions between foreign or domestic governments and the Trump Organization that defy categorization. Examples range from the president ordering his Bedminster, NJ golf club to give certain administration officials an exclusive discount to a former EPA Administrator trying to buy a mattress from the Trump Hotel in Washington.
Here are the totals for each that we’ve tracked so far:
|Type||All instances tracked|
|Visits to Trump properties by government officials||2,222|
|Events held at Trump properties||272|
|Promotion of Trump properties by White House officials||471|
|Foreign trademarks granted to Trump brands||72|
|Miscellaneous official interactions with the Trump Organization||752|
The tallies we provide in this conflict tracker are based on publicly available information. CREW gathered information through Freedom of Information Act requests, news reports, social media posts, and similar sources. We conservatively included only clear examples in our tallies, omitting questionable cases or information from unreliable sources. Additional information about our methodology is available at the end of this report.
(All of the data in the charts, text, and graphics on this page are accurate as of .)
Visits to Trump properties
By frequently visiting his properties, President Trump has given the Trump Organization invaluable publicity at taxpayer expense and provided his paying customers an exclusive perk: access to the president and the other top administration officials who have made appearances there. Far from trying to curb this activity, President Trump’s political allies in Congress have embraced it by frequently attending events or holding fundraisers that personally enrich the president. Similarly, foreign governments and special interest groups frequently act on the reality that spending money at Trump’s properties ingratiates them with the administration and provides them the chance to speak with powerful lawmakers and administration officials.
President Trump’s trips to Trump-brand properties, by type of property
|Property Type||Total Trump Visits|
Most visited Trump properties, by type of visitor (Top 10)
|Property Name||Trump||Other Executive Branch Officials||Members of Congress||Foreign Government Officials||Total Visits|
|Trump International Hotel - Washington, D.C.||33||558||290||134||1,087|
|Trump National Golf Club - Bedminster, N.J.||105||135||5||1||257|
|Trump National Golf Club - D.C. in Potomac Falls, Virginia||105||26||19||2||152|
|Trump International Golf Club - West Palm Beach||99||11||7||2||120|
|Trump National Doral - Miami||10||10||3||0||44|
|Trump Tower - New York City||25||9||0||1||35|
|Trump International Hotel - Las Vegas||13||3||0||0||19|
|Trump International Golf Links and Hotel - Doonbeg, Ireland||3||11||0||3||17|
Most visits to Trump properties by executive branch officials (Top 10)
|Executive Branch Official||Visits|
|Huckabee Sanders, Sarah||17|
Most visits to Trump properties by members of Congress (Top 10)
|Member of Congress||Visits|
Official Promotion of Trump Properties
President Trump has frequently used his position to promote Trump businesses and Trump-brand properties by referring to them or mentioning them by name, often in the course of making official remarks. White House staff have followed the president’s lead, praising and promoting his luxury properties in interviews and on social media.
Promotion of Trump properties by White House officials, by year
|Year||Promoted by Trump||White House officials||Total|
Properties most frequently promoted by White House officials (Top 10)
|Trump Business||Promoted by Trump||Promoted by White House officials||Total|
|Trump Tower - New York City||88||3||91|
|Trump National Doral - Miami||29||13||42|
|Trump National Golf Club - Bedminster, N.J.||25||9||34|
|Trump International Hotel - Washington, D.C.||20||6||26|
|Trump International Golf Links and Hotel - Doonbeg, Ireland||14||9||23|
|Trump National Golf Club - D.C. in Potomac Falls, Virginia||7||2||9|
Events held at Trump properties
As with visits to Trump properties, holding events at Trump properties has become a way for special interests, foreign governments and foreign government-linked entities, political allies, and other influence-seekers to curry favor with Trump and his administration, while also generating personal income for the president. President Trump’s properties were rarely a destination for political groups before he was president, but political spending at his property has exploded since he took office. Similarly, some foreign governments, like Romania and Kuwait, have moved events that previously were held elsewhere to Trump businesses since he was elected.
Total number of events held by special-interest groups, foreign government entities, and political groups
|Special Interest Group||154|
|Foreign Country or Foreign-connected Entity||13|
Number of Trump officials, members of Congress, and foreign government officials attending different types of events held at Trump properties
|Host Type||Trump||Administration officials||Members of Congress||Foreign Government Officials|
|Foreign Country or Entity Event||0||15||1||23|
|Special Interest Event||2||63||32||42|
Trump’s foreign conflicts of interest
Foreign governments and foreign government-connected entities have learned to curry favor with President Trump and his administration by taking actions that benefit his businesses. Since President Trump took office, foreign officials from foreign governments have visited his properties and governments have held or sponsored events there. Some other countries, like China and Brazil, have granted the Trump Organization valuable trademarks, which in some cases had been languishing for years before President Trump’s election, and that’s not counting the trademarks that China and Japan have granted to Ivanka Trump.
Other conflicts—such as a foreign government developing infrastructure that helps a Trump-branded business overseas or foreign officials gaining private access to the president’s son during a launch event for a foreign Trump-branded business—are more difficult to categorize, but they show how Trump’s businesses at home and abroad could impact United States foreign policy.
Countries with the most conflicts of interest, by type (Top 10)
NOTE: As stated in the methodology, to determine which foreign governments are countries for purposes of tracking foreign visits, events, and trademarks, CREW relies on the State Department’s list of Independent States of the World—with the exception of Scotland, which is a part of the United Kingdom, but merits being highlighted on its own