U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

As Foreign Favors Pile Up, Democratic Senators Call on Trump to Halt Unconstitutional Conduct

Thirteen Senators to President Trump: “It is a small price to pay for the unparalleled honor and gravity of your post that you not attempt to capitalize financially on the presidency”

By - Feb 24th, 2017 11:43 am
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following news that the Chinese government awarded the Trump Organization a trademark that may be worth billions of dollars – one of many foreign favors President Trump may have accepted since taking office – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a group of senators, led by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), in calling on President Trump to take immediate action to resolve conflicts of interest that are putting him in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“A President must not have two masters. You have committed to serving the American people. It is a small price to pay for the unparalleled honor and gravity of your post that you not attempt to capitalize financially on the presidency. The Emoluments Clause provides a clear and compulsory procedure for ensuring that your allegiances are entirely to the American people,” the senators wrote. “If you continue to refuse to request and receive Congressional approval before accepting favors from foreign governments, we will be unable to serve our Constitutional role. Such a situation is unacceptable.”

Last week, shortly after President Trump spoke with President Xi Jinping and affirmed the continuation of the United States’ One-China policy, the Trump Organization was awarded a trademark to market the Trump name for profit in China. President Trump had sought this designation for years to no avail, and it was only after winning the presidency that he was able to secure the lucrative trademark.

In addition, the largest tenant of the Trump Tower in Manhattan is a Chinese state-controlled enterprise, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Ltd., which provides $1.95 million annually in foreign payments. President Trump also owns, through limited liability companies placed in the Donald J. Trump revocable trust, investments partially financed by the state-run Bank of China.

The U.S. Constitution forbids the President and other office holders from accepting foreign emoluments without authorization by Congress. President Trump’s ongoing failure to resolve his conflicts of interest and divest himself from his business entanglements has put him in a position of violating this core principle.

“Our Founders enshrined in the Constitution a safeguard against foreign influence upon all office holders, including the President, and throughout our history each President has conducted himself in a manner to ensure neither the perception nor the reality of violating this bedrock principle,” the senators wrote. “You have not.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

A copy of the letter is available here.

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