June 12, 2019
Instead of divesting his interests in the Trump Organization or placing them in a blind trust, President Trump issued a series of woefully inadequate ethics pledges before taking office that were supposed to, but don’t, address the potential conflicts of interest created by retaining his business interests while in office. One of those was that “no new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency.”
Yet, in a “Corporate Update” presentation dated February 2019, one of the Trump Organization’s international business partners included a slide that said an “Aggressive global expansion” of the “Trump International Portfolio” was “underway.” The slide also said that, in addition to the Trump Organization’s “Presence in six countries” there were “Numerous projects in the pipeline.”
It may be that the President’s business partner is wrong about the Trump Organization’s activity, or that the developments the slide refers to wouldn’t be characterized as “new foreign deals,” but the language of the slide seems to contradict the spirit, if not the letter, of the ethics pledge regarding foreign deals.
The company that created the presentation, MNC Group, is building two developments in Indonesia that will include Trump-branded elements. MNC Group says on its website that it “is planning to launch the pre-selling of its residential projects and golf club memberships” in both of those developments in the second half of 2019, though that might refer to a fiscal year. Construction firms owned or co-owned by the Chinese, Saudi Arabian, and South Korean governments have been contracted for work on one of them.
In January, Trump Organization Executive Vice President Eric Trump told an Argentinian news site that the Trump Organization will consider new international developments once Trump is out of office. He said they get offers for them every day.