As negotiations over an economic rescue package continued over the weekend, a reporter asked Donald Trump a question about an unexplored area: the possibility that the president's private-sector enterprise would benefit directly from taxpayer investments.
"Will you commit publicly that none of that taxpayer money will go towards your own personal properties?" a reporter asked. Trump's answer meandered for a long while, and included an unfortunate amount of whining and self-pity, before he eventually said, "I've learned, let's just see what happens because we have to save some of these great companies."
The Republican added, "I have no idea what they're talking about with regard to the one element. Everything is changing, just so you understand. It's all changing. But I have no idea."
Those waiting for Trump to say, simply, "No, my business won't benefit" were left wanting.
But for Democrats who took note of the exchange, this wasn't just an annoyance; it was also an opportunity to address a problem before it occurs. With this in mind, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) sent out this announcement shortly after reaching a bipartisan agreement on an economic rescue package.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has secured a provision in the agreement that will prohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs. The children, spouses and in-laws of the aforementioned principals are also included in this prohibition.
In an on-air interview this morning, CNN's John Berman asked the New York senator, "In terms of the president's own companies, I understand there is some restrictions there."
Schumer replied, "We wrote a provision, not just the president, but any major figure in government -- cabinet, Senate, congressmen -- if they have majority control [in a company], they can't get grants or loans and that makes sense. Those of us who write the law shouldn't benefit from the law."