Statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer 

The criminal investigation of a Trump hotel in Brazil, reported by the Washington Post and the New York Times, shows why President-elect Trump has no choice but to divest his business empire into a true blind trust managed by an independent trustee.

President-elect Trump has indicated, to date, that he plans to maintain ownership of his business empire and turn it over to his sons to manage.

If that arrangement was in place for Trump as president, we would now be facing a criminal investigation in Brazil that touches the president of the United States through the business empire he owns. The buck stops with the owner of the business empire. The fact that the Trump business empire has said it will no longer manage the Brazilian hotel and is taking the Trump name off the hotel does not solve the problems associated with the ongoing criminal investigation.

The Brazilian criminal investigation involving a Trump enterprise illustrates the myriad kind of problems that could arise between Trump’s owned business empire and foreign governments.

Regardless of whether President-elect Trump is involved in managing the business operations or not, the president of the United States through ownership of his business empire could become entangled in enumerable problems with foreign governments, as Trump business enterprises do business all over the world.

Or the foreign governments could use problems with or opportunities provided to Trump’s businesses to obtain favorable treatment from President Trump on policy matters that are not be in the best interests of the United States or the American people.

It’s time for President-elect Trump to face reality. Trump cannot have it both ways. He cannot be president and own a worldwide business empire that must deal with foreign governments to be successful.

President-elect Trump must move to eliminate the serious problems and conflicts of interest he faces as president by divesting his assets into a true blind trust managed by an independent trustee.