Ever since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and the media were thrust into a brave new world they never imagined possible, there’s been renewed interest in the president-elect’s mingling of business and politics.
Some are concerned that Trump has used his new position as leverage for business opportunities. It was alleged by Argentinian newspaper La Nacion that during a recent phone call with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Donald Trump “asked [Macri] to authorize a building he is building in Buenos Aires.” Both parties deny such talks took place.
According to The Washington Post, Trump’s business dealings are so vast that they could present a severe conflict of interest:
“At least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia and the Middle East, a Washington Post analysis of Trump financial filings shows…
The business interests range from sprawling, ultraluxury real estate complexes to one-man holding companies and branding deals in Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Panama and other countries, including some where the United States maintains sensitive diplomatic ties.
Some companies reflect long-established deals while others were launched as recently as Trump’s campaign, including eight that appear tied to a potential hotel project in Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Arab kingdom that Trump has said he ‘would want to protect.'”
Now, another potential conflict of interest has come to light. On November 12, Nigel Farage of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) met with President-elect Trump in New York. During their conversation, Trump allegedly urged Farage, as well as insurance executive Arron Banks–a major force behind Brexit–to campaign against wind farms.
Andy Wigmore, communications director for Leave.EU, who was also in attendance, said that Trump “kept returning to…the issue of wind farms.” He added that the president-elect “did suggest that we should campaign on it,” and that his suggestion “spurred us in and we will be going for it.”
“…[Trump] is dismayed that his beloved Scotland has become overrun with ugly wind farms which he believes are a blight on the stunning landscape.”
This meeting might not be quite as troubling if Donald Trump hadn’t campaigned against wind farms in the past. The businessman even went to court to block the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. According to court documents, the farm would be in view of his new golf course.
The New York Times reports that in December 2015, “Britain’s highest court unanimously rejected his attempt to block it.” In turn, Donald Trump “vowed to halt development on the golf course project if the wind farm went forward.”
Perhaps even more troubling than the meeting itself is Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks seemingly lying about what took place. The New York Times reports that Hicks “at first disputed that Mr. Trump had raised the subject of wind farms with Mr. Farage,” but after being told about what Wigmore said, she declined to comment further.
It’s only been 14 days since Donald Trump won the election, and already, he’s being dogged by conflict of interest issues. With 58 days to go until he’s even inaugurated, this behavior doesn’t bode well.
Many of Trump’s most ardent supporters are doing their dead-level best to rationalize what the president-elect is doing. However, as Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro would say, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Would Trump’s acolytes be defending Hillary Clinton in the same scenario?