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Eric Trump’s problematic endorsement of his dad’s foreign policy from the White House grounds

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Eric’s supposed to stay out of politics while running the business his father still owns. He’s not.

CREDIT: Screenshot/Fox News

In February, Eric Trump characterized the firewall between his father’s business and presidency as “kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise.”

“I do not talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about the business with us,” Eric, who manages the Trump Organization with his brother Donald Jr., told Forbes. “That’s kind of a steadfast pact we made, and it’s something that we honor.”

Eric’s comments were meant to reassure people that despite his father’s unprecedented decision not to divest from his business when he became president, the Trump family is serious about about avoiding conflicts of interest.

They’re clearly not walking the walk, however. Later during that same Forbes interview, Eric admitted he plans to give his father quarterly updates about the financial performance of Trump’s sprawling business — a business he can still draw profits from at any time. Last week, Donald Jr. told the Associated Press he “has spoken to his father more frequently in recent weeks.” Those comments came on the heels of the Washington Post reporting that Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka are pushing for changes to White House policy that will maximize the long-term profitability of the Trump brand.

Trump kids push for changes to White House policies to maximize profitability of Trump brand

Then, on Monday, Eric gave a full-throated endorsement of his father’s foreign policy during a Fox & Friends interview from the White House.

“The safety of this country comes first, and quite frankly the safety of our allies come first,” Eric said. “So, you pray for peace, but he will show real leadership, and that’s something that hasn’t occurred in the past and it will start occurring. And you saw that quite frankly in Syria, and you saw that in Afghanistan, and he will take action if he needs to take action.”

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During the same interview, Eric described his father as “an incredible man” and his “best friend.”

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Eric has every right to voice his political opinions. But by endorsing his dad’s policies during an interview from the White House grounds, he’s communicating that Trump’s business is de facto part of his administration.

During the interview, as has been the case on other occasions since the election, the message was clear: deal with Eric and Donald Jr., and you’re doing business with two people close to the president.

President Trump’s conflicts of interest were on display as he introduced his SCOTUS pick

Eric seems to think he finds himself managing his father’s business empire because of his competence. He told Forbes that while “nepotism is kind of a factor of life,” he and his brother are “not still here because of nepotism.”

“You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot,” he added.

But there might be another reason. By putting his kids in charge of a business he still owns, receives regular briefings about, and can still even draws profits from, President Trump has ensured the Trump Organization continues to operate for his benefit and is run by people who will remain loyal to him.


Eric Trump’s problematic endorsement of his dad’s foreign policy from the White House grounds was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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