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Trump's Association with His Business Empire and the Emolument Clause - Essay Example

3 pages
663 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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There is a significant constitutional conflict in the actions of President Donald Trump to continue being associated with his business and conduct business with foreign governments which is contrary to the Emolument Clause. The emolument clause argues against the "No Title of Nobility is entitled to the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state." From this clause, it can be argued that there is a conflict of interest and the constitution in the activities of Donald Trump to continue to receive foreign payments through his business while still the president of the United States of America (Allhoff & Milgrim, 2017). This essay evaluates the constitutional conflicts in the actions of President Trump which are in contrary to the Emolument Clause.

The primary role of the Emolument Clause is to stop the corruption of the officials by rich foreign agents which could be a threat to the national sovereignty of the United States of America. Corruption of the people in office in the United States can lead to the subversion of justice, as well as the misrepresentation of the national interests for individual benefits. In this case, the Emolument Clause seeks to reduce possible corruption and misuse of public office for personal gains. The clause prohibits Donald Trump from receiving monetary or business concessions which prohibits President Trump hotel in Washington from renting a ballroom to a foreign embassy as well as the famous Trump towers from renting office space to foreign nations as long as he is in the oval office. In this case, Trump towers have offered office space to a state-controlled Bank from China which is a direct violation of the Emolument Clause (Hall, 2017).

President Trump has promised to relinquish authority on his business empire to his executives and sons to reduce the conflict between national and personal interests while the president of the United States. However, it is clear that Trump can still influence his businesses indirectly even without necessarily being the chief executive. The Emolument Clause conflicts with presidential immunity as well as the freedom of president Trump as an American. Another significant conflict, in this case, is the definition of a present or a gift. In the present case against President Trump conduct paying for a hotel room or an office space is not necessarily a gift but it can be termed as the genuine business which contributes to the revenue of the country (Hall, 2017).

Trump like any other American is entitled to carry out business and also own business. The Emolument Clause lacks specificity or the distinct definition of a gift and a genuine business with a foreign nation. In this case, Trump has the liberty to rent out his office space and the hotel room in his hotels to foreign dignitaries as such a business cannot choose its clients. The lack of specificity in the Emolument Clause makes it void and impossible to prosecute due to insufficient evidence that can be presented in the Supreme Court against a sitting president of the United States (Vermeule, 2001).

In conclusion, there is a significant constitution conflict when the U.S president Donald Trump continues to manage his business empire which has come under fire for violating the Emolument Clause. Being the president of the United States of America and an American the president has immunity while in office and also freedom of association. The Emolument Clause lucks specificity regarding definition which makes it difficult to charge or impeach a sitting president for office abuse under the Emolument Clause.



Allhoff, F., & Milgrim, J. (2017). Conflicts of Interest, Emoluments, and the Presidency. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 31(1), 45-67.

Hall, M. I. (2017). Who Has Standing to Sue the President Under the Emoluments Clauses?.

Vermeule, A. (2001). Veil of ignorance rules in constitutional law. The Yale Law Journal, 111(2), 399-433.


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