Despite consistent demands that Donald Trump create clear firewalls between the involvement of his family, the operation of his business empire, and his new responsibility as a public servant, the president-elect on Wednesday invited three of his grown children—Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—to attend a high-profile meeting with some of the nation's most wealthy and powerful executives from the tech industry.
As first noted by Huffington Post reporter Christina Wilkie on Twitter:
Look who’s sitting at the head of the table in Trump’s official meeting with tech CEO’s: Don Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. pic.twitter.com/xUYo3QL0g7— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) December 14, 2016
The meeting, reportedly coordinated by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka, was a veritable who's-who of tech billionaires, including Google co-founder Larry Page, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, experts are warning that Trump's reluctance to separate himself from his business empire—which he said this week will be put in the control of Donald Jr. and Eric—presents an "unprecedented threat" to the nation.
News that his adult children attended Wednesday's meeting prompted renewed outrage over Trump's continued disregard for the ethical conflict it represents:
WHY ARE TRUMP'S KIDS IN ALL THESE MEETINGS!!?? If they're gonna run his "beautiful company" as #TRUMP says, there's no justification for it— Joe Jackson (@joejackson) December 14, 2016
@SenWarren why are Trump's children allowed in these meetings? I resent this and I don't understand why it is allowed.— Elizabeth Shepardson (@eabs8147) December 14, 2016
How can Trump's kids run his business and yet be privy to presidential meetings...... damn corrupt!!— minefield101 (@minefield101) December 14, 2016
That last tweet includes a reference to another new revelation out Wednesday concerning Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka. According to CNN, Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka will be getting an office in her father's White House in a space typically reserved for the first lady. As The Hill reports:
Some have speculated that Ivanka, one of the president-elect's daughters, will fill a role similar to first lady's during her father's presidency. The New York Times reported this month that she may be one of the most powerful first daughters in history.
In early December, she met with former Vice President Al Gore, a prominent climate change activist, at Trump Tower in New York City. The first daughter reportedly plans to make global warming one of her main issues.
Trump has said he'd "love" to have Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, involved in his administration.
Last month, Ivanka's presence at a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resulted in outrage, leading journalist Keith Olbermann to declare on Twitter, "Attention @realDonaldTrump. Nobody else in your family was "elected." Get your daughter THE FUCK OUT OF STATE MEETINGS."
As CNBC reports this week, the head of the Office of Government Ethics determined that even Trump's plan to simply hand the business over to his kids would not be enough to remove the conflict of interest.
In a letter sent Monday to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), agency director Walter Shaub Jr. said transferring control of Trump's businesses to his children "would not constitute the establishment of a qualified blind trust, nor would it eliminate conflicts of interest" under the primary federal statute.