In a bombshell story from Insider today, it was revealed that Donald Trump owns over 100 trademarks in China and six trademarks in Russia that he did not disclose publicly until after he left the office of the presidency. Insider also notes that Trump’s disclosures as a 2024 presidential candidate include his assets since November 2021 which leaves January – November of that year where his holdings are unknown.
It’s just the latest piece of evidence that Trump turned the presidency and his status as the Republican standard-bearer into a cash cow for himself to support his business interests.
Aside from being unethical, Trump’s refusal to separate himself from his businesses presented a national security threat as foreign governments and political interests could leverage his business ties into influencing everything from international trade deals to foreign policy. With over 100 trademarks in countries with adversarial governments now disclosed, it is clear Trump would present an opportunity for foreign corruption once again if given another term in office.
Trump waited until after he left office to disclose trademarks he owns in China and Russia
By Jacob Shamsian
- Donald Trump’s financial disclosures neglected to include hundreds of trademarks he owns — including over 100 in China and six in Russia — until after he left the office of the presidency.
- Trump’s complete list of trademarks was first disclosed in a document known as OGE Form 278e, which the US Office of Governmental Ethics requires for US presidents and vice presidents and candidates for president and vice president.
- Until this year, the former US president’s ethics forms didn’t disclose his trademarks in foreign countries, which can provide him revenue and are issued and can be revoked by foreign governments. He didn’t disclose them at all while in office, and he first disclosed the long list in July of this year and amended it in August.
- The belated disclosures mean that Americans had little insight into the scope of Trump’s foreign asset holdings during his presidency, and are only learning about them as he runs for a second term in the 2024 election.
- The list of countries where the former president owns trademarks includes China, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Belarus, and other countries heavily sanctioned by the United States, as Forbes previously reported. Trump disclosed more trademarks in China than in any other country by far.
- The disclosures do not include information about how the trademarks are used in each country and what revenue Trump may receive from them.
- It’s not clear why Trump waited so long to disclose the trademarks and why he asked for extensions to file his disclosures. Representatives for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.
- Richard Painter, the White House’s chief ethics lawyer during part of the George W. Bush administration, told Insider that the forms may not even capture all of the trademarks Trump owns. Even more, he said, may be owned by LLCs, the assets of which don’t need to be disclosed in detail.
- The forms also don’t expound upon how much money each trademark generates for Trump and where the funds are coming from.
- Trump’s assets in other countries raise the possibility that he could violate the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which is designed to limit foreign influence on federal officers.
- Without more insight into his holdings, Painter said, it’s impossible to know if Trump used a trade war with China as a chip in a fight over his personal business interests or dictated foreign policy in the Middle East to sweeten a deal between his golf courses and Saudi Arabia’s investments in the sport.
- “If a foreign government is sending money to Donald Trump to put his name on a hotel from a corporation controlled by, say, the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund, that’s a violation of the emoluments clause,” Painter said.
- Trump’s disclosures as a 2024 presidential candidate include his assets since November 2021, a year before he officially announced he was running for a second term. That leaves a dark period between January and November of that year, where his holdings are unknown.
Published: Nov 3, 2023
Last Modified: Nov 6, 2023