Don Lemon called out President Donald Trump’s inability to cut ties with his business interests, as evidenced by those in the crowd for the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s two sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were tasked with taking over the family business and both were tweeting from the audience.
“Some reporters also tweeted pictures of them speaking with [Sen.] Orrin Hatch (R-UT),” Lemon pointed out. “President Trump promised he would separate himself from businesses. Eric and Donald won’t be involved in the politics or he won’t be in the businesses.”
Carl Bernstein put the incident into the perspective, wondering about the reaction if Democrats had won the White House and then behaved the same way.
“If Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton Foundation had the same arrangements that Donald Trump and his children had now with billion-dollar businesses impeachment proceedings would be brewing,” Bernstein said. “That’s the underlying thing. How in the world is this president going to get away with what is beyond a conflict of interest? It is abhorrent!”
Others on the panel disagreed, saying that the Trump children are his sons and the moment is a historic one, and they deserve to be able to attend. Lemon, playing “devil’s advocate,” asked the panel if it wasn’t his sons and it was another person not related to him, who was in charge of running his business, would people have the same opinion.
Political director David Chalian said that they probably wouldn’t be that interested in showing up to the announcement.
Political analyst Mark Preston argued that the larger issue is not mingling with Hatch, but when there is a meeting with a “Pakistani businessman and something goes down in their favor.”
Bernstine dissented, saying that the picture is toxic.
“Read David Brooks in the New York Times today,” Bernstein recommended. “A conservative columnist having huge doubts that Donald Trump is going to make it through four years of the presidency. That’s David Brooks. We have to look at the dynamic of what is going on all this week and last 10 days. He’s had a good night tonight for his troops but the game goes on, and right now he’s in a place that no president has ever been.”
Lemon persisted, saying that if he were president and his children were running his businesses, he would ask them not to show up because the optics aren’t good.
“It’s clear Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn, to be realistic,” Bernstein cut in.
Preston recalled that Trump was also a candidate who claimed he could run the country and his businesses at the same time and “do a great job. And, by the way, I’m the president, there are no laws that govern me.”
Watch the full discussion below: