A big question that might be answered at tonight’s debate is what will happen to Donald Trump’s holdings in the real estate sector if he is elected president. Some are curious – and may ask tonight – about a conflict of interest as the real estate mogul depends heavily on big banking to manage his holdings, but has promised to rein in Wall Street. Trump assures that there is no conflict to worry about, and says he’ll hand off the real estate reins to his children – Ivanka in particular.
He originally referred to this possibility as a potential blind trust, but having his children run the company would not be a blind trust; in an actual blind trust, a completely independent third party handles everything and the owner knows nothing of where the monies are invested. This ensures a complete wall of ignorance so no-one can claim deals are made or policy put forward that could benefit the owner. It’s the same idea behind laws that prevent insider dealing. Trump recognized that and then said he wouldn’t really care about his company if he became president, as that’s a small matter compared to the Presidential position.
The idea of a blind trust likely stemmed from the fact that most modern presidents have had them; there was much discussion of Romney’s need for one had he been elected president, with his complex financial investments, and so on. Obama didn’t need a blind trust as he shifted all of his money into run-of-the-mill indexed funds and Treasury notes, which are fully disclosed and could not be manipulated by him.
In 2015, Donald Trump stated that if elected president he would refuse to accept the $400,000 annual salary that comes with the Oval Office. If so, he would join JFK and Herbert Hoover, independently wealthy men who became president and donated their entire salaries to charity.
The debate tonight may or may not touch on Trumps plans for his real estate business and holdings, but it’s certain to be a debate worth watching as we inch closer and closer to the election!