Trump in Scotland: perfect timing for a business trip to the UK
© Getty

On the day the British people voted to leave the EU, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president took a business trip to Scotland. According to the New York Times, “such trips pose risks for any candidate, but particularly one moored to a private enterprise rather than to burnishing foreign policy credentials, particularly at a moment of deep political tumult in Britain.”

The New York Times is mistaken. To run a business is an important qualification for the office of president. What poses a grave risk is to run for president as a career politician.

ADVERTISEMENT

The idea that the president should be experienced in business is as old as America. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were all farmer/planters. Abraham Lincoln started a general store. Warren Harding owned a newspaper.  Herbert Hoover ran a mining company. Franklin D. Roosevelt owned a health spa. Harry Truman owned a haberdashery. Ronald Reagan ran a labor union. 

From a constitutional perspective, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution requires that the president be a “Citizen.” When our country was founded, the term “citizen,” according to Dr. Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1768), meant a “townsman,” a person without rank or noble birth who had to work a trade or a business for a living. The ideal American president, in other words, is someone with an honest job who sees the public fisc as a burden to manage and not as money to spend.

From a practical perspective also, it is a good thing for a presidential candidate to have a business. Most Americans are citizens in the same sense as the ideal president should be. To understand the public welfare means to know what ordinary citizens need, so as to do well in their private occupations. Someone who has never created a job, never met a payroll, and never built anything must bear a heavy burden of proof to convince citizens that she should run the economy.

There is also the risk of corruption. Who is more likely to be a corrupt puppet of special interests, a business leader who takes time from running for president to reopen a golf course in Scotland, or a politician who received millions of dollars from banks, corporations and lobbyists for doing — as her supporters keep telling us — absolutely nothing at all to earn it?

Every step Trump takes in Scotland, on his mother’s native soil, is a reminder that he is a practical businessman who understands the economy, that he is too rich to be bought for favors, and that the world knows he puts America first. He is exactly the president we need.

Michael Socarras, J.D. Yale 1986, practices international law and is an advisor to the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.