Donald Trump postpones announcement on business conflicts

Transition officials said they were postponing a Dec 15 news conference at which Mr Trump had said he would reveal his plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his sprawling business empire.
Transition officials said they were postponing a Dec 15 news conference at which Mr Trump had said he would reveal his plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his sprawling business empire.PHOTO: AFP

UNITED STATES (NYTIMES) -  For those waiting to see President-elect Donald Trump explain how he will balance his private business with his public duties, you'll have to wait a little longer.

Transition officials said on Monday (Dec 12) evening that they were postponing a Dec 15 news conference at which Mr Trump had said he would reveal his plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his sprawling business empire.

Now, he will not do so until January, most likely before his inauguration and after a vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, officials said, confirming a report in Bloomberg News.

The officials said building a Cabinet had consumed more of Mr Trump's time than expected. And they said he needed more time to decide how to deal with the large, iconic real estate holdings that are part of the global Trump business.

The news conference on Thursday would have been Mr Trump's first since becoming President-elect. He announced it on Twitter last week, promising to "discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country".

He said it was "visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses".

 
 
 

"Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations," Mr Trump wrote. "The presidency is a far more important task!"

Later, people briefed on Mr Trump's deliberations said he was considering formally turning over operational control of his company to his two grown sons, Donald Jr and Eric, while he and his daughter Ivanka took leaves of absence. People with knowledge of the discussions said Mr Trump would announce a "legal structure" to separate from the business while keeping an ownership stake.

In an interview with The New York Times just before Thanksgiving, Mr Trump dismissed the idea of selling his company, saying it would be very difficult.

"I think that, you know, selling real estate isn't like selling stock," he said. "Selling real estate is much different. It's in a much different world."

But he added: "I would like to do something. I would like to try and formalise something, because I don't care about my business."

In an interview with Fox News Sunday over the weekend, he said bluntly that his children would run the company, though he did not say whether Ivanka would be included.

"They're going to run my company. I have a lot of property and great stuff. They're going to run it," he told Chris Wallace, the host of the programme. "They're going to run it. Hopefully they're going to run it properly. I'm sure they're going to run it properly. But I'm not going to do deals. And I think, you know, I think that's going to be good."