Shortly before he was sworn into office, President Donald Trump tried to ease fears about potential conflicts of interest between his businesses and foreign governments by pledging the Trump Organization would have “no new deals” with foreign entities during his presidency.
Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
However, McClatchy reports that a construction company owned by the Chinese government was just hired to work on a major project at Trump World Golf Club Dubai.
DAMAC Properties, a partner company that has a licensing deal for the Trump Organization’s name and brand, has awarded a $32-million contract to a subsidiary of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, a state-run company that was banned from receiving World Bank-financed construction projects amid corruption charges in 2009.
At issue is whether the deal with a Chinese state-run company by his business would influence Trump’s foreign policy decisions over issues such as trade, as the president might be less likely to enact a policy that could hurt a company that is helping to enrich his businesses.
In addition to violating Trump’s own pledge, the deal with the Chinese company once again raises questions about the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which bars the president from receiving gifts, titles of nobility or emoluments from foreign governments.
“This is not just a concern of good government organizations,” said Meredith McGehee, the policy chief at anti-corruption advocacy organization Issue One. “It was a fundamental concern of the founding fathers.”