U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would maintain ownership of his global business empire but hand off control to his two oldest sons while president, an arrangement that watchdogs said would not prevent conflicts of interest in the White House.
Trump told a news conference he would resign from all positions overseeing his hotels, golf courses and hundreds of other businesses and move his assets into a trust to help ensure that he will not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally.
Trump, a Republican, is under pressure to distance himself from his businesses before he moves into the White House on Jan. 20. Unlike other U.S. government officials, the president is not required by law to steer clear of conflicts of interest.
“I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to,” Trump said.
Ethics experts said the arrangement did not go far enough.
“Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and corruption,” said Norman Eisen, a former White House ethics adviser under Democratic President Barack Obama.
Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said on Wednesday in a speech at a Washington think tank that his office recommends Trump “divest his conflicting assets” to avoid conflicts.