Pence: “Who Cares?”

An Indian man reads news of Trump’s election. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

An Indian man reads news of Trump’s election. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

Donald Trump may not be taking his $400,000 presidential salary, but his business meeting this week with Indian real estate developers suggests his company will profit far more just because he’s the president. Asked about this unprecedented conflict of interest Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence shrugged it off, quoting Trump, “Who cares?”

Pence insisted that there would be a “legal” separation between the presidency and the Trump business, but host Chris Wallace pressed that it was more than a legal question. There was no response regarding that conflict. “The President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, is completely focused on the people’s business,” Pence said, “and I promise you and I can assure the public that they’ll have the proper separation from their business enterprise.”

The exact opposite seems to be true. Trump’s meeting with three Indian executives to discuss their partnership with the Trump Organization had nothing to do with the transition. It was not about advancing the American people, but advancing Trump’s profits.

According to interviews some of those execs gave in Indian papers, it had to do with how much more the Trump name is worth now that he’s been elected president. Many of the buildings that bear Trump’s name internationally are not actually owned by his businesses. Generally, his name is licensed by others to inflate their property value. As president, his name is worth more, so Trump stands to make more money from these licensing deals.


The line between his business and his duties as president is further blurred by the prospect that foreign diplomats might stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. They could brag to Trump that they stayed there and fed into his profits in an attempt to literally buy his favor and the ability to influence him.

There have been many promises that there will be a separation between Trump’s presidency and his business holdings, but it’s essentially too late for any such promises to be reassuring. He’s continuing to hold meetings related to his business, and his kids, who were supposedly going to run the business without his involvement, are already participating in meetings related to his administration. Given the people in these business meetings already know he’s about to be president, the conflict of interest is already playing out. Trump is leveraging his election to make his company money across the world, and his administration literally doesn’t care.

Full story at Think Progress.


  1. Menyambal says

    It occurs to me that staying at a Trump hotel is just the perfect cover for massive bribes. Forget the room itself, as that may not be priced much higher than a competing hotel. The bribery/profit is in room service.

    See, there’s an in-room menu for Trump Caviar, Trump Whiskey, and Trump Chocolates, all supposedly crafted of the finest ram’s bladder. The quality is fair, but the prices are highly outrageous. The guests can order one or a dozen of each, and pay the hotel thousands of dollars for it. Next day, they tell Trump they stayed in his lovely hotel, and the chocolates were marvelous. He tells them to not forget the gift shop, which features his daughter’s jewelry -- the bracelets are lovely this time of year. (Quiet confirmation of the credit card receipts is tactfully handled.)

  2. lorn says

    A friend bought me a Trump tie. Sells for $39.50 retail. I just looked it up. Got the ugly thing for $.50 at a garage sale. I figure it’s worth $1. So, good deal at twice the price. If I need to run for the border I’ll wear my Trump tie and American flag pin to disguise my liberal leanings.

  3. Crimson Clupeidae says

    The few times anyone from the Trump campaign/team/cabinet makes a statement clear and unequivocal….they’re lying.

Leave a Reply