WASHINGTON • US President- elect Donald Trump has announced that he will hand over control of his businesses to his adult sons before his inauguration and vowed that the companies would make "no new deals" while he is in office.
In a pair of tweets sent after 11pm on Monday, he wrote: "Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my businesses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office."
Mr Trump was earlier scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow - his first since winning the Nov 8 election - to announce his plans for his business, but his transition team announced on Monday that the press conference will be rescheduled for next month.
Mr Trump's tweets gave no indication that he will give up his ownership stake in his global real-estate and licensing empire, which experts have advocated as the only way to ensure he could not profit from the impact of his own policies.
The promise to forgo any new deals, however, was a step beyond Mr Trump's previous statements on the topic, when he merely indicated he would give up control of the business.
PRESIDENCY 'FAR MORE IMPORTANT'
Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my businesses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP
His tweets omitted reference to daughter Ivanka, who, like her brothers, works at the Trump Organisation. However, Ivanka is expected to step away from the business to serve in an advisory capacity to her father; her husband Jared is a key and trusted aide.
Mr Trump has been under significant pressure to step away from his various businesses since winning the election to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
On Sunday, he repeated that he will hand over day-to-day management of the Trump Organisation to his three older children, but he suggested he would not fully divest from the company. "Essentially, I'm not going to have anything to do with the management," he told Fox News Sunday.
"I'm not going to be doing deals at all. I don't even know if that's a conflict. I mean, I have the right to do it. You know, under the law, I have the right to do it. I just don't want to do it."
He tweeted on Nov 30, while announcing tomorrow's press conference: "While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is 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. The presidency is a far more important task!"
A spokesman for Mr Trump said the delay in the press conference was so the President-elect could continue to focus on building his Cabinet.
Mr Trump's assets and name recognition around the world create an unprecedented ethical maze as he prepares to enter the White House. As he often points out, presidents are not bound by the strict conflict-of-interest laws that govern most US elected officials.
Still, most modern presidents have chosen to sell or sequester their assets under independent management to prevent their private interests from influencing their actions.
Mr Trump says he has taken at least one step to protect himself from conflicts of interest: selling his stock portfolio in June.