Donald Trump has taken some steps to reduce a web of possible conflicts of interest during his presidency, but he will not truly cut his entanglements until he signs his businesses over to an independent trustee, experts say.
Over the weekend, Trump announced that he plans to shut down the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charitable organization, "to avoid even any appearance" of a conflict with the presidency. The foundation, which Trump vehemently defended this week, left the potential for individuals to try to gain access in exchange for donations. The move came after three of Trump's children distanced themselves from charity events that appeared to offer access to the incoming first family.
The organization cannot fully shut down yet amid the New York state attorney general's investigation into whether foundation funds were used to help Trump, his family or his businesses, among other issues. Even when it does close, it will not go far enough to ensure he does not use the presidency to enrich himself or his family, government ethics experts said.
"In my mind it doesn't mean much when he has so many other obvious conflicts to tackle," said Lisa Gilbert, director of the Congress Watch division at Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.