President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE downplayed any concerns about possible conflicts with his business operations Tuesday, while giving little indication he planned to significantly overhaul its operations.
In an interview with The New York Times that was live-tweeted by reporters and editors with the news organization, Trump argued that the questions surrounding his ability to lead the country without potential conflicts with his business interests was insignificant.
“The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest,” he told the Times, according to a tweet from reporter Maggie Haberman.
Trump has faced numerous questions about whether his role as president-elect can possibly coexist with his broad business holdings around the world. Numerous stories have suggested that Trump has continued to have a hand in his business operations since winning the election, although he has said he would eventually hand off the business to his children.
Trump himself confirmed that he has continued to talk business while holding meetings as president-elect. After the Times reported that Trump raised the issue of unsightly wind farms in Britain that could mar the view of some of his golf courses there with British politician Nigel Farage, Trump said, “I might have brought it up.”
Trump suggested Tuesday he has no plans to liquidate his assets and place them in a blind trust, as has been typically recommended of past presidents by ethics experts.
“That’s a really hard thing to do, because I have real estate,” Trump told the Times, when asked about selling his company.
While indicating he wanted to hold on to the business bearing his name, Trump downplayed its role in his future decisionmaking.
“My company's so unimportant to me relative to what I'm doing,” he said.
“In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There's never been a case like this,” he added.
He also acknowledged that becoming the next president of the United States likely has been a boon for his business operations. For example, he said that his new hotel built in downtown Washington is likely “a more valuable asset than it was before” as his brand has gotten “hotter.”
Trump’s team has contended that the eventual handing off of the business to his children will give Trump some distance between his political work and its operations. But questions have remained about that arrangement, particularly as Trump’s children have taken on official and unofficial roles in his presidential transition, including sitting in on meetings with foreign officials.
Trump dismissed concerns about the role of his children going forward.
“If it were up to some people, I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again,” he said.