Day 89 of the Trump administration, April 19, was a relatively quiet day in U.S. political. The big story of the day was the news that just hours after meeting with dignitaries from the Chinese government, Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and advisor, got approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks for products made under her brand name. This once again raised questions regarding the conflicts of interest in the White House amid accusations of corruption and abuse of power.
In a similar vein to Ivanka’s conflict of interest, Press Secretary Sean Spicer argued that Trump did not need to release the White House visitor logs as constantly releasing information regarding the White House would simply prove a distraction to Trump while he is governing the country, presumably because news outlets would redirect their attention and questions to Trump’s visitors, meaning that Trump would have to spend more time explaining why certain people were visiting the White House. Critics, on the other hand, believe this is a ploy to hide Trump’s shady associates and his conflicts of interest.
In electoral news, special elections were held in Georgia’s sixth Congressional District to vote on the replacement for former Congressman Tom Price, now serving as Secretary of Health. Democrat Jon Ossoff held a significant lead in the polls, with many believing that he might be able to pull off an upset in the traditionally conservative voting district. Some commentators are suggesting that if Ossoff wins, it will mark the beginning of the electoral backlash against the Trump administration’s tenure and its perceived failure to accomplish the promises made to voters during the Trump campaign.
In immigration and homeland security news, the head of the Department for Homeland Security, John Kelly, suggested at a speech at George Washington University that critics of the department should “shut up” and acknowledge the work being done by its agents in dealing with illegal immigrants in the U.S. Furthermore, President Trump is set to announce a new Executive Order soon that will review how the government issues H-1B Visas for immigrants coming into the U.S. to work. It is possible that the method for issuing the visas will change from a complete lottery system, as it is now, to a merit-based one where applicants are awarded points and ranked based off of the value of the work they will be bringing into the U.S.
Finally, the White House announced that the strike group it had originally claimed was heading to the Korean Peninsula—a claim that the Army debunked by posting a picture on the U.S. Navy website of the ship going in the opposite direction -is now actually headed towards the Korean Peninsula.
Increasingly, I am being led to believe that Trump’s conflicts of interest will not necessarily be his downfall, but if they do end up being involved in Trump’s fall from grace (assuming he falls), it will not be because of an ethics investigation that leads to Congressional prosecution. I believe that the only way Trump could be impeached due to conflict of interest would be if it suited Congress. For example, if they attempted to impeach him for purely political reasons if Trump runs out his usefulness for the party. I do not believe politicians in the Capitol will feel in any way morally compelled to pursue the conflicts of interest. The conflicts of interest are an achilles heel that will need to be attacked, but they are not the foundations to the Trump administration that will give away to bring the whole administration crashing down, we will have to wait and see what will bring his administration down, if it even comes down at all.