With more than 100 companies with business interests around the world, Donald Trump has attracted the attention of ethics experts, who contend his possible conflicts of interest are "unprecedented" for a modern-day US president. Now the New York Times offers a closer look at some of these global projects and plans in at least 20 countries, with the paper noting those endeavors are concentrated on developing nations and which are hard to completely untangle due to the president-elect's refusal to release his taxes or a roster of lenders. "It is uncharted territory, really in the history of the republic, as we have never had a president with such an empire both in the United States and overseas," says Michael J. Green, a DOD alum who also served on the National Security Council under George W. Bush.
Trump himself bragged to the Times earlier this week that "I've built a very great company and it's a big company and it's all over the world," though he then added: "I don't care about my company. It doesn't matter. My kids run it." His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, released a statement noting that "vetting of various structures and immediate transfer of the business remains a top priority for both President-elect Trump, his adult children, and his executives." Nations under the Times microscope:
- The Philippines, where Trump is the partner on a $150 million tower in Manila's financial district with a developer who was appointed a special envoy to the United States in October by President Rodrigo Duterte.
- Brazil, where a Trump-branded luxury hotel is embroiled in a probe rife with allegations of bribes and illegal commissions.
- Ireland and Scotland, where environmentalists are prepping to fight against a Trump Organization-driven flood-prevention barrier that could bring down an endangered snail's habitat.
- India, where the lion's share of Trump's non-North America projects lie, where it's "routine" for bribes to be part of the approval process, where most major developers have "some sort of alignment, direct or indirect," with regional politicians, and where some politicians are tied to India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
- And Turkey, where Trump confessed last year (in a radio interview with his soon-to-be chief strategist Steve Bannon) that he may have a "little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul."
goes deep around the world here