Donald Trump, a screaming apricot horseman of the apocalypse and our next president, got up in the middle of the night to tweet about his conflicts of interest. Specifically, he announced a plan to address them, a plan which is, both generally and in its particulars, meaningless and garbage. It’s difficult to know how to write about this particular round of meaningless garbage, but let’s fight our sudden, overwhelming exhaustion and wade in nonetheless.
Trump tweeted at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday that he’s going to leave “my busineses [sic]” before he’s inaugurated, a claim he’s made in various forms before.
His large and unsettling adult sons will manage them, while his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are expected to act as advisors of some kind to the Trump White House, God help us.
“No new deals” is a content-free phrase, as you might be able to guess. Richard W. Painter, a White House ethics advisor in the George W. Bush era, told the New York Times it’s nonsensical, in fact:
“It makes no sense to say ‘no new deals,’” Mr. Painter said, questioning why the president-elect would make an announcement just before midnight on a Monday. “What is he talking about?”
“Is he going to continue to borrow money from foreign banks like Bank of China? That is a deal,” Mr. Painter said. “Or collect rent from foreign government-owned companies? That is a deal. Will he still be hiring people, or having people stay in his hotels?”
Trump previously said that he’d hold a news conference on December 15 to announce his very real and totally fleshed-out plan to leave his various businesses “in total.”
Instead — in a turn of events we should probably get used to— he delayed the press conference, which would’ve been the first since he was elected, and decided to just tweet.
As the Washington Post points out, Trump doesn’t have to reveal any financial information until May 2018:
Trump gave no details on how his businesses would operate without embarking on new business deals, nor how transparency would be provided so the public could judge whether that pledge is being upheld. The law requires that only certain information about his personal finances be disclosed and only annually. Trump will not be required to disclose financial information next until May 2018.
On the bright side, if you’ve been meaning to start using the word “kleptocracy” more, the next four years will provide you with ample context.