President Trump’s Brand May Present a Conflict of Interest
Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine” and “This Changes Everything,” weighed in on the recent lawsuits put forward by democrats and state attorneys general from around the country. The issue at hand? Whether or not Trump is unconstitutionally profiting from the high office of the presidency.
Klein forwards the possibility that the United States’ government may have become the piece de resistance for Trump’s brand, according to a recent article put out by Klein. Always a firebrand of an author, Naomi Klein puts forward evidence of over a quarter-million dollars in payment from a lobbying agency aligned with the Saudi government.
Democrats feel uneasy about the fact that when foreign dignitaries decide to stay in a Trump hotel they may be currying favor with the sitting president by doing so. The legal crux of all of these lawsuits against President Trump tend to rest in whole or in part on the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The emolument clause – emolument meaning fee or duty – is tucked into Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution and owes its namesake to being the eighth clause. This section of the U.S. Constitution is sometimes called the Nobility Clause since in addition to prohibiting emoluments, fees, and gifts sitting presidents are prohibited from bestowing titles of nobility on to others in exchange for money or return favors.
Clearly, the emoluments clause was a product of its time and aimed at combating the graft and patronage so prevalent in King George III’s England. Jefferson, the de facto architect of the U.S. Constitution, found this kind of glad-handing and patronage repugnant and, therefore, incorporated the emolument clause into the U.S. Constitution.
Moving back to the present, Naomi Klein has serious concerns about whether the emolument clause is being violated. Klein worries about the ongoing influence peddling and behind-the-scenes deals that might be profiting the Trump brand. Lawsuits are pending on the constitutionality of Trump’s profiting in office.