Feb. 9, 2017
Spinning Out of Control; Japanese Prime Minister Visit to Mar-a-Lago Is Further Intermingling of White House and Trump Business Operations
Statements of Public Citizen Experts
Note: President Donald Trump will personally pay for his visit at his resort, Mar-a-Lago, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this weekend, according to media reports.
“Things are rapidly spinning out of control. The president is a servant of the American people. There should be no intermingling of White House and business operations. There should be no intermingling of his private monies with public affairs. Just as he should be receiving no payments, gifts or emoluments from foreign leaders or governments, he should not be providing any, either. This routine sloshing around of money is guaranteed to land the presidency, and the country, in deep trouble. It’s true that Trump could not accept payment for Abe visiting at Mar-a-Lago. It is equally true that they don’t need to meet at Mar-a-Lago.”
– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen
“It has always been the practice that U.S. taxpayers pay for foreign dignitary visits – either at the White House or Camp David. If Trump personally pays for a visit from another nation, it raises murky ethical questions that exemplify the problem of Trump’s continued ownership of his businesses. Trump must choose: businessman, or president? This line cannot be straddled.”
– Lisa Gilbert, director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division