Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but Donald Trump pretty much put to rest today any hope that he will separate himself from his business while he’s President:
Mr. Trump brushed aside questions about conflicts arising from his business dealings, declaring that “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
He said it would be extremely difficult to sell off his businesses because they are real estate holdings. He also noted that he had turned over the management of the businesses to his children. “If it were up to some people,” he said, “I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again.”
Though he repeated his assertion that his company was “so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing,” Mr. Trump acknowledged that the value of his luxury hotel in Washington had been driven up by his election victory. The Trump brand, he said, was now “hotter.”
Mr. Trump suggested that under the law, “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.”
In other words, “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Thank you, President Nixon, for providing Mr. Trump with that out.
Mr. Trump also seems to believe that his supporters assumed he was lying when he promised to put his business into a blind trust or something resembling one and let his kids run it:
Of course, we know better now. As President-Elect, he has met with Indian business partners, spoken with the Japanese Prime Minister and Argentinian President with his daughter (you know, the one who is running the business) right by his side, and told Member of Parliament Nigel Farage to help stir up opposition to offshore wind farms like the one he thinks blocks his view from his golf course in Scotland. He holds the lease on the new Trump hotel in DC and has thrown a party encouraging visitng diplomats to stay there. He owes hundreds of millions to a Chinese government owned bank. He owes money to Deutsche Bank, which is facing a multi-billion dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice because of fraudulent mortgage practices. Nope, no conflict there. And the list goes on.
The Wall Street Journal called today for Trump to liquidate his holdings, give the assets to his children, and cut off all communication with them regarding the business (no direct link because the editorial is behind a pay firewall):
“One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example…If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position,” the Journal said. “Mixing money and politics could undermine his pledge to ‘drain the swamp’ In Washington.”
I hope those 60 million voters aren’t holding their collective breath. Welcome to the kleptocracy.