President-elect Donald Trump has a plan for the hotel profits from foreign government payments that everyone is worried about, but it may cause more trouble, not less. The emoluments clause of the Constitution says that “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Trump’s hotel chain sometimes hosts foreign dignitaries, who spend money to stay there. The question is, does that money buy them influence with the new administration?
At a press conference today, tax attorney Sheri Dillon explained that while the emoluments clause doesn’t apply to selling hotel rooms (others disagree), Trump would donate all the money he’s made from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury Department. In essence, as MSNBC legal correspondent Ari Melber points out, Trump would be taking foreign money, potentially bribes, and using them for gain, thereby adding to the conflicts and not decreasing them.
If POTUS gets a PR boost for paying US Treasury with foreign nations’ money, that ADDS to conflicts.