The son of Terry Branstad, President Donald Trump's ambassador to China, used his connection to President Trump to lure in business for his public-relations firm, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Eric Branstad served as the U.S. Commerce Department’s liaison to the White House. During a conference in Shanghai he spoke in front of more than 100 influential people at a seminar titled “How to React To (Potential) US-China Trade War?”
Experts told the Wall Street Journal that boasting about his ties to President Trump could create the appearance of an ethical conflict. President Trump recently sparked a coming trade war when he imposed tariff increases on China that are supposed to take effect on July 6th.
Eric Branstad's success seems to be riding on the tails of President Trump. "Mr. Trump’s challenges to China while onstage with a colleague, but his efforts to build his own business in the country appeared to hinge on his personal connection to the president," one attendee said.
“It was this whole splash about how they met Donald Trump,” said Richard Chenel, a Shanghai-based private-equity investor said.
Mr. Branstad declined to comment for the story. Walt Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethic said he that even thought he didn't violate any ethics rules he should still take caution.
“The culture of the federal government has always been that if you’re in a sensitive post like ambassador, particularly for a country as important to our national interest as China, you would strongly discourage your family members from going there for business purposes,” Shaub said.