As is often the case with Donald Trump, today’s announcement that the President-elect of the USA will exit his business operations was not followed by any real detail. The official headlines suggest that Donald Trump will step aside from his sprawling business empire, much of which is based on real estate, to concentrate on his term as president of the USA. So, what will happen to Donald Trump’s sprawling business empire and will there be any conflict of interest?
Handing over control
It is believed, although we await confirmation, Donald Trump will hand over control of his business empire to his three children. There have been calls for the President-elect to transfer all of his business operations into a “blind trust” over which he would have no control. The idea is that pre-installed third parties would run his businesses while he attempts to rebuild America and then, after his presidency is over, maybe move back to his business operations?
We should hear the details of Donald Trump’s future business structure in the forthcoming days although to all intents and purposes he has been forced into a corner because of potential conflicts of interest.
We only need to look at recent developments in the life of Donald Trump to see that controversy is never far behind. Just days after his election as president of the USA there were rumours that he had asked high-ranking politicians in Argentina to wave through various planning applications. It does seem as though these rumours were completely unfounded and untrue but they do highlight the very difficult time Donald Trump will have balancing his political role with his business interests.
Indeed, nowhere is this more evident than Scotland where Donald Trump was until recently an ambassador for Scotland until his major fallout with the SNP government. Donald Trump has various business interests across Scotland including a golf club in Aberdeen and his battles with Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond could impact Scotland’s relationship with the USA in the years to come.
After assisting with planning permission for his golf course investment in Aberdeen the government promptly waved through various applications for wind farms just off the coast of his development site. This caused a major row between the government of Scotland and Donald Trump who felt he had been misled and the installation of numerous windfarms had significantly impacted the overall value of his golf course development. We have not heard the last of this!
Business leader with business acumen
On one hand America is dreading Donald Trump taking the reins as president but behind the scenes many business people, especially those with real estate assets, will be hoping he uses his vast business experience to assist investment markets. There is no getting away from the fact that Donald Trump is a controversial character but there is also no getting away from the fact he’s a very successful business person.
We have asked this question on numerous occasions, would you prefer a career politician to become president of the USA or a business person who was been there, done it and lived to tell the tale? Over the next few years we will see whether Donald Trump is all talk or whether indeed he is able to deliver on his promise to “make America great again”. Where is your money?