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In a moment of glory for Constitution nerds, "Emoluments Clause" was trending last week on Twitter.
That's the clause in our nation's founding document that bans federal officeholders from accepting favors from foreign governments without the OK of Congress. It has come to the fore in part because the operations of the Trump Organization regularly throw President-elect Trump and his family into business relations with such governments and their representatives.
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For example, Trump just threw an event welcoming potential customers to his newly opened Washington hotel, which is expected to do a boom business on inauguration week. Some diplomats told reporters that they were planning to book Trump suites as a gesture of goodwill toward the big man, just as they might do back home.
Even the more Trump-sympathetic voices in the press (yes, there are some) have been warning that the president-elect must act now to head off the looming conflict of interest. The Wall Street Journal says he needs to divest his business empire outright to function impartially as chief executive, while the New York Post warns against just putting the business in a peekaboo trust for his kids:
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"After all, if the election had gone the other way, we'd right now be furiously denouncing the idea of letting Chelsea run the Clinton Foundation."
Trump initially responded to critics on Twitter with a note of defiance: "Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!"
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But this issue is not likely to go away on its own, nor will he find it as easy to stonewall as he did the one-time story of his tax return. New conflicts and potential conflicts arising from foreign patronage of Trump properties are going to come up day after day.
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