(Which is mostly what it was.)
Reince Priebus, who has excelled at playing Donald Trump’s unlikely human shield, hit the Sunday shows to defend his new boss’s byzantine web of global business dealings, many of which will undoubtedly complicated U.S. foreign policy in places like Germany, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Priebus insisted that there was nothing to see here, and that Trump will bring together some very smart lawyers to figure out what to do without liquidating assets, another break from tradition in an election full of them. Priebus’s appearance on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union was the most notable, thanks in large part to Tapper’s bludgeoning style:
Preibus is essentially kicking the can down the road, arguing that Trump will be “compliant” with the law. Hugh Hewitt made a similar argument on Twitter, arguing that because a scandal hasn’t happened yet (it can’t, given that Trump hasn’t been inaugurated) the attention paid to Trump’s business affairs is unwarranted:
The problem, however, is that Trump has done nothing to warrant being given the benefit of the doubt. His daughter Ivanka, who will supposedly be tasked with running Trump’s businesses while he is president, sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signaling that Trump’s presidency and his businesses will be intertwined. Similarly, despite the fact that Preibus claimed that Trump was spending “17 hours a day” in meetings planning his presidency, he took time out to meet with two Indian business partners who have said that they plan to use their ties to Trump to further their own business interests. According to The Washington Post, “at least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia, and the Middle East.”
So far, Trump has done nothing to assure the public that his business will be kept separate from his presidency. The pressure should increase until he does.