PoliticsPolitical Scandals


Ethics Watchdogs Have A Problem With Trump's White House Website

Melania Trump's bio on the White House website was changed to omit the name of her jewelry line QVC used to sell.
Posted at 12:33 PM, Jan 21, 2017

Almost immediately after the inauguration, Trump's business conflicts of interest were again scrutinized. But it wasn't Donald who had ethics watchdogs up in arms. It was Melania.

Critics say Melania Trump's official bio page on the new White House website seemed to promote her jewelry line.

The page listed some facts about the first lady and then said, "In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, 'Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,' on QVC."

A spokesperson for Melania Trump said the paragraph wasn't meant to be an official endorsement. The page was updated but still mentions a jewelry line without calling it by name.

And there may not be any actual conflict of interest. QVC isn't selling the jewelry on its website anymore.

But this probably won't help the perception that the Trump administration is flouting traditional presidential ethics practices and potentially a few ethics laws.

Some experts say President Trump may already be in violation of the Constitution. It says in part no one holding office should "accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

Trump has business dealings all over the world, and foreign dignitaries have already stayed at his hotel in Washington, D.C. But without seeing his tax returns — which Trump refuses to release — it's impossible to know everywhere his business profits.

One foreign diplomat told The Washington Post it would be foolish not to stay at Trump's hotel, saying, "Why wouldn't I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, 'I love your new hotel!'"

A Harvard University law professor said Trump "can't uphold the Constitution, one of whose central provisions he would be a walking, talking violation of." It's debated if the Emoluments Clause is talking about the president, but in the past, actions and rulings have applied it to the nation's highest office.