Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

One of President Trump's many hotels. Foreign heads of state have made a point of patronizing the president's real estate business by staying at his resorts, say ethics experts. (Photo: Photo YourSpace/Flickr/cc

'See You in Court': With China Funding New Trump Resort Project, President in Clear Violation of Constitution

"This is a violation of the Emoluments Clause. A big one."

Julia Conley

The government watchdog group that has previously sued President Donald Trump over alleged ethics violations sharpened its focus this week on a billion-dollar development project involving the Trump Organization that is being partially financed by the Chinese government—calling it a clear violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

Norm Eisen, board chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), warned the president, "See you in court" over reports of Trump's latest constitutional violation.

A billion-dollar resort project being developed in Indonesia by the president's business empire, the Trump Organization, is to receive $500 million from the Chinese government. The president's company has been involved in the project since 2015, according to the South China Morning Post.

After winning the 2016 election, Trump refused to fully divest from his real estate business, choosing instead to place the company in the control of his two eldest sons. He still receives reports on the organization's holdings and business dealings, and is able to withdraw funds from Trump Organization accounts at any time.

Trump's continued involvement with his business empire has resulted in multiple violations of the Emoluments Clause, argues CREW. The group has sued him for illegally taking payments from foreign heads of state as well as state governors, as many international and American politicians have stayed at Trump's hotels, dined at his restaurants, and held events at his resorts since he became president.

"Diplomats openly claim that they patronize the President's hotels to curry favor with him as President—a blatant violation on any reading," wrote CREW last year in its response to the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

On Monday, the White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah refused to answer questions on the subject or explain the administration's position on the deal during a press briefing when Los Angeles Times reporter Noah Bierman asked pointedly about Trump's involvement in a major project funded largely by the Chinese government—and how one could argue that the project does not violate the emoluments clause.

Shah dodged the question, suggesting that the Trump Organization is entirely separate from Trump's presidency.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·


Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·


Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo