Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Trump speech - NOT

[Edit 1/9/17:  My current theory of Donald Trump's conduct is that he has a goal of destroying trust, eviscerating concepts of truth and facts, ratcheting up divisions, and ultimately creating chaos and paralysis in our national governance, all with a view to getting himself in a position to seize extraordinary powers on the basis of that being the only way for the country to be saved. See Explaining Trump. I don't think Trump will ever give the below speech.]

American brothers and sisters, deplorables, and my enemies who cannot get over how I whupped them:

I have said many shocking things during the past 18 months.

I am now going to shock you beyond anything you have heard before out of my mouth.

I  have received over my life rewards and opulence that are beyond imagining by the average person.

I worked extremely hard for the rewards but my splendid fortune in this world is stupefying, even to me.

Now, I have received the greatest honor imaginable, elected President of the United States, to help the American people deal with the huge problems that confront them.

Even I am humbled. This is a capstone to my incredible life that I truly want to be worthy of.

As I have said, I have gotten everything that any human being could want in this life.

I want to return my gratitude to the American people for the trust they have placed in me.

To that end, I don't need anything more than this curtain call in my life of being your President, and I want to give unequivocal evidence of my exclusive devotion to the American people.

I and my family have monumental wealth, and we do not need or seek any more while I carry out this phenomenal job of trust the American people have placed in me.

Let's be clear. I am worth over ___ billion dollars.

I crucified the Clinton family about their corruption, conflicts of interest and pay to play. I understand how the same charges can be potentially laid against me and my family, and I don't want anyone to have any doubt on this.

I said in my campaign, my personal fortune is "peanuts" compared to what is at stake for the American people. I am 70 years hold and I don't need for my businesses to be maintained and grow for me with a view to my situation after my Presidency, I will have a great life after my Presidency as long as I live no matter what.

To remove any question about my exclusive devotion to serve the American people, I am putting all my businesses up for sale. It may take time to sell the businesses, and I may take a significant haircut on their value, maybe 30% . Again, given the phenomenal amount of the wealth I have, and how it is peanuts compared to what is needed to be done by me for the American people, I am honored to incur this reduction in my wealth because of my love for the United States and what I want to do for the country.

As for my children, I have met and discussed with them the amazing life that has been afforded the Trump family and how, now, this highest of honors of the Presidency has been bestowed upon me, and indirectly my family. I have said to my children they should have a choice of either to serve the American people along with me, or to continue in their business careers, but they should not have both. I have made clear that, if they choose their business careers, no access to me as President will be gained by people who do business with my children.

Those of my children who choose to serve with me and who forego their business careers now will have enormous opportunity to resume careers in business after my Presidency.

My children have agreed that is the right thing to do, and, if they choose their business careers, they have agreed that they will be clear to anyone who does business with my children that such business shall be solely on the basis of the merits of my children and their businesses apart from me, and no one will gain any access to me or anyone in my administration.

To implement this ban on access, I will institute protocols in my Executive Branch of the Federal government and request my children to adopt protocols in the conduct of their businesses to assure that absolutely no one will think they can gain any favors or access to me or my administration as a result of their doing business with my children. I will advise the American people about the specifics of these protocols when they are instituted.

Update 3/1/17
The below Feb. 22nd op/ed piece in The Wall Street Journal makes a good suggestion, which of course Donald Trump will never agree to.

A Real Fix for Trump’s Conflicts of Interest

Congress should establish a public trust to oversee his company.

Shortly before becoming president, Donald Trump announced that his business empire would be placed into a trust overseen by his two eldest sons. All profits generated by foreign governments at his hotels will be transferred to the U.S. Treasury. The plan represents a step in the right direction, but it isn’t enough to settle doubts about conflicts of interest in the Trump administration.
Congress and the president should instead work together to establish a public trust that oversees the Trump Organization throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency. All profits from the business would be paid directly to the U.S. government. His family could still be involved in the business, but ultimate authority would go to a congressionally appointed independent government trustee or board.
The profits could be used, among other things, to offset the cost of Mr. Trump’s weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago or the extra security required for his family at Trump Tower in New York. Since the government would have ultimate control over the business, it would have an incentive to align the interests of the business with those of the country. If a particular deal is good for the Trump Organization but bad for the U.S., the company would side with what’s best for America.
The president in West Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 17.
The president in West Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 17.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
This solution is not without difficulties. As head of the executive branch of government, Mr. Trump could define the “national interest” in ways that unduly favor his business interests. The Trump children and other employees of the Trump Organization, who know better than any government overseer, could manipulate “profits” and investments to postpone revenues and reduce the amounts to be paid to the government.
Nevertheless, government ownership and control may be the best of many imperfect options. It would provide greater transparency about exactly what the Trump Organization’s interests, assets and liabilities are. This could facilitate more-open debate on how conflicts of interest should be resolved. Ambiguity only encourages unfounded speculation and conspiracy theories.
Congress could try to go it alone and pass such a plan with veto-proof majorities, though it would be standing on shaky legal ground because of the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on the taking of private property for public use without just compensation. But Mr. Trump should realize that such a proposal is in his best interest. This setup would severely undercut any argument that he is working in his company’s interest, not the country’s. As soon as he leaves office, his family will likely inherit a strong and untainted business.
If Mr. Trump continues his current strategy, he can expect an endless stream of lawsuits, boycotts, political criticism and second-guessing of his motivations. Handing off the company would stop much of that immediately. And if he does well as president, his business will prosper. Joining these public and private interests would be exactly the kind of innovative solution that Mr. Trump applauded as a businessman.
Mr. Cohen is a professor of law at the University of Virginia.

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