Trump postpones news conference, announces sons will take over businesses

Although President-elect Donald Trump was expected to announce plans for his businesses at a press release Thursday, he announced them on Twitter Monday night instead.
By Stephen Feller  |  Updated Dec. 13, 2016 at 5:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump canceled a press conference planned for later this week where he was to announce plans for who would take over his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest while he serving as president, opting instead to make the announcement on Twitter.

Trump announced late Monday night on Twitter he plans to hand over control of his businesses to his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, before his inauguration on January 20.

"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," Trump said in a series of tweets. "Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office."

Trump did not mention his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is expected to leave the company as well to take a role advising her father in Washington, but said he planned to hold a press conference "in the near future to discuss the business, cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!"

Trump's transition team said Monday that the scheduled Dec. 15 press conference, his first since June, was being put off so he can continue to focus on filling his cabinet and setting up his administration.

Bloomberg estimates Trump has about $3.6 billion in assets and $630 million of debt held in more than 500 businesses, which link him to other companies and governments in at least 20 countries.

There is no legal requirement for a president to disassociate or divest of business ventures when taking office, but traditionally presidents and vice presidents separate themselves to prevent the image or actual crossing of responsibilities. Certain other requirements do, however, prohibit income and gifts from foreign governments.

Conflicts of interest surround the family already, however, as Trump's children have met with business and political leaders from around the world several times since the election.

Even Trump's properties may pose problems. His new hotel in Washington, housed in the Old Post Office, includes a clause in the lease Trump signed with the federal government that bars elected officials from profiting from its operation.

While not saying he would completely separate himself from the company, the president-elect said he wants to focus on his job as president, so he's handing the company off.

"Essentially, I'm not going to have anything to do with the management," Trump told Fox News Sunday. "When I ran, everybody knew that I was a very big owner of real estate all over the world. I mean, I'm not going to have anything to do with the management of the company. I'm not going to be doing deals at all."

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