USA TODAY - While preparing to announce his economic team, Donald Trump said Wednesday that he and his children will hold a "major news conference" on Dec. 15 to discuss separation from his various business interests.
He plans to "discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" Trump said during an early morning tweet storm.
Critics said his business interests run afoul of conflict of interest laws, but Trump said he is not "mandated" to dis-invest. "I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses," he tweeted.
The New York real estate mogul did not provide details about how his new business arrangement might work, and whether his children might continue to be in charge. He tweeted that "legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!"
Trump made the announcement the same day he is expected to name key members of his economic team, tapping hedge fund manager and campaign aide Steve Mnuchin as secretary of the Treasury and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as secretary of Commerce.
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Mnuchin, 53, a former Goldman Sachs executive, worked this year as Trump's national campaign finance chairman.
If confirmed by the Senate, the Treasury secretary nominee would shepherd economic plans that include tax cuts, a reduction in government regulations, and stepped-up infrastructure projects.
Ross, the nominee for Commerce secretary, co-authored an infrastructure plan that Trump aides are studying.
Trump is also expected to announce selection of a former critic to be deputy commerce secretary: Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and member of a Republican political family that financed attack ads on Trump during the Republican primaries.
The economy will also be front and center as Trump plans his first public appearance since the election more than three weeks ago: A trip to Indiana to celebrate Carrier's decision to keep 1,000 manufacturing jobs at its air conditioning plant in the state rather than move them to Mexico.
Carrier's decision came after negotiations with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, that included new tax breaks for the company.
"Big day on Thursday for Indiana and the great workers of that wonderful state," Trump tweeted. "We will keep our companies and jobs in the U.S. Thanks Carrier."
Trump also plans to kick off a "thank you" tour of states that provided his margin of victory in the Electoral College, a series of rallies set to begin Thursday in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In recent days, congressional Democrats and government analysts have questioned how Trump could conduct the presidency without violating conflict of interest guidelines involving his various global businesses.
Ethics watchdogs have urged Trump to abandon any plans to let his children run his real estate empire, and instead put all of his assets into a blind trust.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., plans to ask the Senate to pass a resolution that would require Trump to hand over control of his businesses.
“The American public has a right to know that the President of the United States is acting in their best interest, and not because he or she has received some benefit or gift from a foreign government like Russia or China or any other foreign entity,” Cardin said.
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