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U.S. Ethics Office Tweets Brilliant Sarcasm At Trump

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U.S. Ethics Office Tweets Brilliant Sarcasm At Trump

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By Andy Sullivan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect Donald Trump faced criticism from an unusual source on Wednesday when a buttoned-down U.S. government ethics office issued an apparently sarcastic stream of Twitter messages applauding him for selling off his assets.

Trump, in fact, has not said whether he will sell the hotels, golf courses and other businesses that make up his global Trump Organization, as the U.S. Office of Government Ethics subsequently acknowledged. But the agency sent out a series of tweets as if he had done just that.

“OGE is delighted that you’ve decided to divest your businesses. Right decision!” one tweet said. “We told your counsel we’d sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.”

Trump promised only that he will be “leaving his great business in total” in a series of early morning tweets, one of his most common methods of communicating.

Democratic lawmakers and other critics said Trump’s business interests could pose conflicts of interest when he takes office on Jan. 20 because he will be in a position to influence tax laws, environmental regulations and other government policies that could affect his assets.

Ethics office spokesman Seth Jaffe said Trump would more clearly resolve potential conflicts if he sold off his assets, rather than simply transferring control.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Previous presidents have opted to put their savings and investments into blind trusts so they do not know how their decisions in office influence their personal fortunes.

Republican Trump, also a former reality TV star who has never previously held public office, has said this would be impractical because it would be difficult to sell off apartment buildings and other properties.

He said on Wednesday he is drawing up legal documents that would remove him from day-to-day business operations. He said he would provide details on Dec. 15 at a news conference with his adult children, who are all involved in his enterprises.

“While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses,” Trump tweeted.

Democratic lawmakers said that announcement was “vague” and urged Republicans who control Congress to hold hearings.

Sixteen Democratic members of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee wrote a letter asking whether Trump will transfer his assets to his children; whether his children will be involved in his administration; and whether businesses, foreign governments, and others will “continue to be able to take actions that benefit Mr. Trump and his family.”

Democrats need the committee’s Republican chairman, Representative Bob Goodlatte, to agree to move forward with hearings. A Goodlatte spokeswoman said she did not expect the chairman would have a statement.

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Grant McCool)

IMAGE: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to reporters aboard his plane as he travels between campaign stops in Ohio, U.S. September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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16 Comments

  1. dorothygarza90 December 1, 2016

    It’s been 1 year since I finally resigned from my previous work and it changed my life… I started to work from my house, for a company I found on-line, several hours a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous job… Paycheck i got for last month was for Nine thousand dollars… The best thing about it is that now i have more free time with my kids… http://chilp.it/728813e

    Reply
    1. Joan December 1, 2016

      So use that free time to actually be with “your kids” rather than annoying people here.

      Reply
  2. FireBaron December 1, 2016

    Congratulations, America. Robber Barons have been trying to get elected to the Presidency since the 1870s. Previously, they had to do so through surrogates. Now, one of their own has been elected, and he just stiff-armed all of us, telling us he plans on making money off this job.
    And you though Hillary was ethically challenged compared to this embezzler, huckster, fraud, child molester, serial sexual abuser

    Reply
  3. Diane December 1, 2016

    Do y’all Deplorables know what “banana republic” means. No, it’s not the store where you buy the cool clothes.

    Reply
  4. Dan S December 1, 2016

    I can almost predict that his news conference on December 15th will likely include talking about some fabulous new Hotel he’s opening. The day he leaves his business is the day he also releases his tax returns that have been under internal audit & hell freezes over

    Reply
  5. FT66 December 1, 2016

    “Republican Trump, also a former reality TV star who has never previously held public office, has said this would be impractical because it would be difficult to sell off apartment buildings and other properties”.
    This man can’t be trusted at all. How did he prepare himself before jumping into the race? He was campaigning for more than a year, why didn’t he take time to think how he will deal with his properties/business incase he is elected? I can see the same pattern as he did of not issuing hisTax Returns.

    Reply
    1. InformedVoter December 1, 2016

      The truth is that he doesn’t have to divest himself and will still be following the laws of conflict of interest. HilLIARy on the other hand clearly pedaled her influence for dollars as SOS. That’s why the FBI will continue to investigate the Clinton Foundation. Had HilLIARy won, she would have been impeached for the conflict of interest from her foundation.

      Reply
      1. Thoughtopsy December 1, 2016

        That is flat out bullsh!t. And you know it.
        Firstly… where is the conviction for Hillary based on this “Influence pedalling”? Yeah. Nowhere. Because apparently you type using your ass.

        Secondly… If I own a business and I also have regulatory control over the industry that business is in, or control over who gets appointed to regulate that industry, or deliberately ask foreign leaders to do favors for my business in their country, or invite Diplomats to stay in my business when they are on official business…. Then that is both a huge conflict of interest and LITERALLY Pay-for-Play.
        Out in the open.
        Clear as day.
        Not even trying to hide it.

        Educate yourself, moron.

        Reply
        1. InformedVoter December 2, 2016

          Sorry Thoughtopsy but you may wish to re-read the article itself. It CLEARLY stated that President Trump does not have to divest himself from his businesses. Nor does he have to release his tax statements for that matter. If President Trump’s business sells or purchases something, then the price paid or accepted would have to be near the fair market value or he could be charged with conflict of interest.
          On the other side, HilLIARy and her foundation ACTUALLY conducted business while she was SOS. Hence, she is still being investigated for selling influence for donations.
          Thus it would seem, that once again, that you low information lefties are the “moron”, as you put it.

          Reply
  6. CPANY December 1, 2016

    Never having held public office isn’t such a bad thing for a president. Jimmy Carter held public office and he was a disaster as president. George Washington never held public office and he was an excellent president.

    It doesn’t pay to generalize.

    Reply
  7. johninPCFL December 1, 2016

    There’ll be an investigation to see who sent the tweets, and Trump’ll fire them. Of course, they’ll appeal and win getting a yuuuge settlement (that you and I will have to pay for.)

    Reply
  8. Paul Anthony December 1, 2016

    This has not been an issue because most Presidents have not been from the private sector. Did Jimmy Carter sell his peanut empire? Did George Washington sell his farms?

    Reply
    1. Joan December 1, 2016

      Yes, Carter did sell his peanut farm in January of 1977. Since you seem to be a little shaky on history, that is the month and year of his inauguration. George Washington did not sell his family home upon obtaining the Presidency – potential conflicts of interest virtually non existence at the time. Neither of these two exemplarily ethical farmers/statesmen’s situations are in any way analogous to the Trump situation.

      Reply
    2. dpaano December 1, 2016

      Yes, Jimmy Carter DID sell his peanut empire. Not sure about George Washington, but I DO know about Jimmy Carter.

      Reply
  9. Joan December 1, 2016

    You know it dawned on me today that we have elected someone as President who would be unable to pass an FBI security clearance investigation. There are doubts, some people have said, I have heard that he was unable to pass the investigation necessary to obtain a gambling license in NV. What IS true and easy to check is that the Trump owned hotel on the strip in Vegas does not have a casino.

    Reply
  10. Thoughtopsy December 1, 2016

    How’s that “Draining of the Swamp” going, Trolls?
    #fillingtheswamp #connedbyTrump

    Reply

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