There are many versions of the old bait-and-switch. Thanks to Donald Trump, we’re learning new ones all the time — and sometimes the lessons are painful. Just ask the graduates of Trump University.
When Trump took office he refused to divest himself of his business interests. That’s something his predecessors had done voluntarily and routinely, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict of interest.
Instead, Trump opted to simply stay out of his businesses’ day-to-day operations. But as it turns out, he’s not really out after all.
The investigative news website ProPublica has discovered that the initial language of Trump’s hands-off pledge has changed — allowing him to dip into his corporation’s profits at will.
These excerpts from ProPublica’s report lay out the full bait-and-switch:
When President Donald Trump placed his businesses in a trust upon entering the White House, he put his sons in charge and claimed to distance himself from his sprawling empire. “I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and say, ‘Oh you did a good job,’” Trump said at a Jan. 11 press conference. Trump’s lawyer explained that the president “was completely isolating himself from his business interests.”
But ProPublica dug deeper, and finally confirmed that Trump’s “isolation” was not quite what it seemed.
In an interview with ProPublica, Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time.
He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office on Jan. 20. That language was not included in a Jan. 26 summary of the trust — what’s known as a trust certification — but was included in a Feb. 10 version of the document.
Asked about the change, Garten said the Trump Organization prepares different versions of the summaries to “highlight different things for different people.”
But then, in the Trumpian Universe, isn’t that exactly what Alternative Facts are?