Ex-ethics chief nails Trump for 'monetizing the presidency' with new campaign swag featuring White House
Former director of government ethics, Walter Shaub (Photo: Screen capture)

Former White House ethics czar Walter Shaub nailed the president for continuing to find ways to "monetize the presidency" while in office.

President Donald Trump's campaign launched a new set of merchandise for spring, featuring cherry blossoms and emblems of the White House. Typically, campaigns stay away from using official government symbols like the White House while marketing swag for campaign donations.

"Our corrupt President’s hotel, in which he retains a conflicting financial interest, is selling products with the image of the White House on it," Shaub tweeted Thursday. "I’d say he’s monetizing the presidency again, but it’s a continuous effort so 'again' wouldn’t make sense."

In 2018, Democrats launched an anti-corruption lawsuit for the president's usage of his personal hotel to make money off of international visitors seeking an audience with the White House.

CNN legal analyst Shan Wu said this week that the problem is Trump's own fault.

“As with so many things regarding the president, it’s basically a mess of his own making,” Wu explained. “Trump has all these businesses that, unlike any other president, he has not put into a blind trust, and so now this is a question of, let’s take a look at his interests, can it be that you’re profiting from being president when foreign dignitaries come and are staying at your hotel?”

Judges on the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that the lawsuit could be dismissed. A lower court gave a broad definition of emoluments, but the appeals court noted the judge in that case was far too broad. But judges noted that forcing Trump to divest from his economic interests wouldn't stop foreign governments from staying there and attempting to curry favor.

The states attorneys general said in a joint statement they “will keep fighting to stop the president’s daily violations of our nation’s original anti-corruption laws, because Americans should never have to wonder if the president is working on their behalf or in his personal financial interest.”