US ethics office tweets sarcasm at Trump on business conflicts

By REUTERS
December 1, 2016 00:41
1 minute read.

President-elect Donald Trump faced criticism from an unusual source on Wednesday when a buttoned-down US government ethics office issued an apparently sarcastic stream of Twitter messages applauding him for selling off his assets.

Trump, in fact, has not said whether he will sell the hotels, golf courses and other businesses that make up his global Trump Organization, as the US Office of Government Ethics subsequently acknowledged. But the agency sent out a series of tweets as if he had done just that."OGE is delighted that you've decided to divest your businesses. Right decision!" one tweet said. "We told your counsel we'd sing your praises if you divested, we meant it." Trump promised only that he will be "leaving his great business in total" in a series of early morning tweets, one of his most common methods of communicating.

Democratic lawmakers and other critics said Trump's business interests could pose conflicts of interest when he takes office on Jan. 20 because he will be in a position to influence tax laws, environmental regulations and other government policies that could affect his assets.

Ethics office spokesman Seth Jaffe said Trump would more clearly resolve potential conflicts if he sold off his assets, rather than simply transferring control.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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