Trump’s ethically risky business

Donald Trump bragged to voters that he was too rich to be bought. Yet potential conflicts of interest between the president-elect and his businesses keep emerging.

He took a timeout from transition planning last week to meet at Trump Tower with three Indian partners who are building Trump-branded luxury apartments near Mumbai, The New York Times reported.

His new Washington Hotel held a sales-pitch event for about 100 foreign diplomats and gave away raffle prizes for free stays at Trump properties around the world. Some of them told The Washington Post that spending money at Trump’s hotel seems like an easy gesture to America’s next leader.

Trump has said he’d put his businesses in a “blind trust” by handing it off to his adult children — an arrangement that looks anything but blind. Daughter Ivanka sat in on Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last Thursday.

Chief of staff-designate Reince Priebus said on CNN Sunday that ethics safeguards will be put in place. “We will comply with all of those laws and we will have our White House counsel review all of these things,” Priebus said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Burr in Trump’s bonnet

For a second straight day, Trump took to Twitter to complain that the cast of “Hamilton” mistreated Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he attended the show Friday night. He added a thumbs-down review for the Broadway hit.

“The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior,” the Sunday tweet said.

During the curtain call, the cast stood with actor Brandon Victor Dixon in a plea to Pence and his boss to work on behalf of all Americans, including those “alarmed and anxious” that their “inalienable rights” may be infringed. (Video here.)

Trump had another grievance Sunday. The previous evening’s “Saturday Night Live,” he tweeted, was “a totally one-sided, biased show — nothing funny at all.” See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.

Pence: Loved the show

Pence, making the Sunday talk show rounds, said he and his family “really enjoyed” the performance of “Hamilton” and urged others “go to see” the “great show.”

He “wasn’t offended by what was said” by Dixon — he would “leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue.”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

And what about the booing from some audience members when he entered the Richard Rodgers Theatre? “That’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said.

“I just want to reassure anyone — anyone including the actor who spoke that night — that President-elect Donald Trump is going to be president of all the people,” Pence said.

Trumps to live apart

Trump said Sunday that he will move to the White House immediately when he takes office but wife Melania and their 10-year-old son Barron will reside at Manhattan’s Trump Tower until his school year is over.

Barron is a fourth-grader at a Manhattan prep school. Trump spoke only briefly to reporters gathered at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, and it was unclear whether the next first lady will make quick trips for ceremonial functions.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Casting call continues

Trump said he had not made a decision yet on secretary of state. Pence said Mitt Romney remained “under active consideration.” So is Rudy Giuliani — for that and “other things,” Trump said. See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.

Trump tweeted that retired Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, “who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday.” Mattis is popular with both Republicans and Democrats and some fans tried to draft him to run for president earlier this year.

Retired four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane told NPR he was offered the Defense job but declined.

Other names in play Sunday for Trump’s Cabinet slots: billionaire New York investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary and Jonathan Gray, a Democrat in charge of global real estate at Blackstone Group, for Treasury.

Schumer’s plans for Trump

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the next Senate minority leader, said he may be able to make common cause with Trump on policies such as revising trade laws, investing in infrastructure and eliminating the “carried-interest loophole” that gives windfall tax breaks to hedge-fund moguls.

But “When he’s opposed to our values, we’re going to go after him tooth and nail,” Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Democrats will also resist rolling back Obamacare and financial regulation, he said.

Trump tweeted Sunday: “I have always had a good relationship with Chuck Schumer. He is far smarter than Harry R [outgoing Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid] and has the ability to get things done.” Trump deleted a previous tweet that called Schumer “cunning.”

And remember the Baileys, Schumer's hypothetical couple from Massapequa conjured to represent the middle class?  Chances are they'd have voted for Trump, as Newsday's Tom Brune explains.

What else is happening:

  • If Trump chooses Giuliani or John Bolton as secretary of state, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) says some GOP senators may join Democrats to block the nomination because “they’re unrepentant in their support for the Iraq War. They haven’t learned any of the lessons.”
  • President Barack Obama said he doesn’t intend to become his successor’s constant critic — but reserved the right to speak out if Trump or his policies breach certain “values or ideals.”
  • Clashes intensified between Dakota pipeline protesters and police on an issue in which Trump may have an interest. A required disclosure form shows he's invested in the company behind the project.
  • Will Trump OK waterboarding to interrogate terror suspects? “We’re going to have a president again who will never say what we’ll never do,” Pence said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” A day earlier, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said: “I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard.”
  • Priebus said of Islam: “Clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic and we know them; we’ve seen it.” But he also said on ABC’s “This Week” that there would not be “a registry based on a religion” or an immigration ban explicitly singling out Muslims.
  • People who know Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon best say he is not a racist but is willing to tolerate extremist views to boost his populist movement, according to an in-depth Washington Post profile.
  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a speech at a Harlem church, decried what he called “the whirlwind of hate and division all across this country” since Trump’s election and announced initiatives to combat hate-based crime and harassment, Newsday’s David Olson reports.
  • Nassau Rep. Kathleen Rice backs Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan’s bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as minority leader — the first House Democrat to do so openly, Politico reports. The election results “demand that we look honestly and critically at ourselves and think about the changes we need to make,” she said.
  • After stating for years that she graduated from college in Slovenia, Melania Trump’s new official bio says she “paused her studies to advance her modeling career.” The revised bio appears on Trump’s transition website.