U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and U.S. Rep. Pete Welch (D-Vt.), a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led nearly 60 of their colleagues Wednesday to introduce resolutions in the Senate and House stating the sense of Congress that President-elect Donald Trump should comply with the Constitution and follow the precedent established by prior presidents and convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts managed by an independent trustees, or take other equivalent measures.
The resolutions note that in the absence of such actions by the President-elect before he assumes office or without specific authorization by Congress, Congress will regard dealings by Trump-owned companies with any entity owned by a foreign governmental actor as potential violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides that "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
"The American public has a right to know that the President of the United States is acting in their best interest, and not because he or she has received some benefit or gift from a foreign government or related entity," Senator Cardin said. "They need to know that the President of the United States is making decisions based on what is in the public interest and not because it would advance the President's private interests. This resolution is intended to send a clear message to the President-elect that he must take appropriate action and avoid any potential conflict with the Constitution before he takes an oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution in two weeks."
"Let us remember John Adams' important words, "We are a government of laws, and not of men'," Cardin added.
"On January 20, Donald Trump will take the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States. At the appointed time, he will raise his right hand and swear to "Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' This resolution will ensure that President Trump will follow through on the requirements of this solemn oath," Rep. Welch said. "The American people should have every confidence that actions taken by our new president are in the country's best interest rather than his own."