At the sixth GOP debate, Donald Trump offered this brilliant safeguard to avoid Oval Office conflicts of interest: Let his children run his business empire.
How, given his billions in real estate and other holdings, could he avoid at least the appearance of self-interested manipulation of the tax code and other regulations?
At Thursday night’s debate in North Charleston, S.C., Fox Business Network Anchor Maria Bartiromo finally popped the question of putting his assets in a blind trust.
“I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that’s a blind trust, I don’t know.”
Sorry, Donald. Your children don’t count as a blind trust. Two out of three makes that a blonde trust.
Trump comments verbatim
Here is the entire exchange (transcript from cbsnews.com) on this question.
BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, your net worth is in the multi-billions of dollars and have an ongoing thriving hotel and real estate business. Are you planning on putting your assets in a blind trust should you become president? With such vast wealth, how difficult will it be for you to disentangle yourself from your business and your money and prioritize America’s interest first?
TRUMP: Well, it’s an interesting question because I’m very proud of my company. As you too know, I know I built a very great company. But if I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.
I want to use that same up here, whatever it may be to make America rich again and to make America great again. I have Ivanka, and Eric and Don sitting there. Run the company kids, have a good time. I’m going to do it for America.
So I would — I would be willing to do that.
BARTIROMO: So you’ll put your assets in a blind trust?
TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that’s a blind trust, I don’t know. But I would probably have my children run it with my executives and I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.
BARTIROMO: Thank you sir.
Thank you, Maria Bartiromo, for asking the question. I’m not sure whether your failure to challenge this obvious nonsense was because you thought the answer spoke for itself, time was short, or you are under Trump’s sway.
The answer confirms that when Donald Trump is not saying perfectly clear things that are beyond the pale, he uses double talk to hedge his bets. His favorite way to float trial balloons is to say, “I don’t know,” as he is doing with the Ted Cruz birther issue.
The trouble is, when Trump says he does not know something, he usually does, and when he insists that he does know something, he usually doesn’t.
Oh well, style Trumps substance.