In the nearly two weeks since Donald Trump won the presidential election, he’s already been accused of multiple conflicts of interest. The businessman-turned-president-elect of the United States promised to turn over his companies to his children in what he described as a blind trust – a term the media has refuted because blind trusts require an independent trustee. Yet, with preparations underway for his upcoming incumbency, he met with three Indian businessmen planning to build a Trump-branded luxury apartment complex near Mumbai.
Last week, at the newly opened Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., 100 foreign diplomats were encouraged to book Trump properties for future trips – some even received raffle prizes. It’s this lack of separation between his business dealings and his presidential duties that raises potential ethical issues.
His latest possibly shady interaction involves Argentine President Maurcio Macri, who called Trump to congratulate him. Initially, outlets reported that Trump outright asked Macri for the government’s help to push his $100 million Trump Office Buenos Aires project forward. The building’s construction has suffered delays because of financing and permitting requirements, according to USA Today. However, both Macri and Trump’s spokesmen have denied this account. Ivan Pavlovsky, a spokesman for Macri, told Buzzfeed News that the two “only spoke about maintaining the institutional relationship between the two countries. They then recalled their personal relationship. They never spoke of the tower.”
But as Slate points out, regardless of whether Trump called in a favor, the meeting might still have been problematic. In an interview with The Asahi Shumbun, Macri stated that Trump’s daughter sat in on the meeting. “We promised to establish the best bilaterial relations ever,” he said. “I hope that our good relations with the United States, seen under U.S. President Barack Obama, will continue and expand further under Trump. In the call, I also talked with his daughter. I have known her since her infant days.”