A Washington-based watchdog has claimed that Donald Trump is conducting the most unethical presidency in the country's entire history. The Tradefair team brings you the latest in US politics...
“After a full year of this administration, it is now abundantly clear that the executive branch under President Trump is characterised by contempt for ethics and conflicts of interest rules and for the rule of law.”
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) report.
Americans are experiencing the most unethical presidency in US history under Donald Trump, a new report has claimed.
Published by government ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the document suggests President Trump has put his own bottom line before public interest.
"The Trump administration is confronted by an extraordinary scale and scope of legal and ethics scandals. It is unrivalled in the modern era, and perhaps in the history of the nation, for a first-year administration," the report states.
American people have had to worry about "virtually every decision President Trump makes, from taxes to environmental regulations to foreign policy" as they don't know whether it's in their best interest or just a move to benefit himself.
An unethical President?
At the heart of this, CREW claims, is the President's decision to not sell off his businesses before his inauguration or in the 12 months since. Its review of the Trump administration heavily suggests that this has caused a conflict of interest for the controversial President and may have influenced some of his decisions while in the Oval Office.
A "failure to address this crisis" could cause "lasting harm to the country", the report states, adding that CREW's initial concerns were "well founded" and "in retrospect were understated".
"The conduct of this administration, from the President on down, threatens our centuries-old tradition of a government that functions to serve the interests of the American people, rather than to serve the interests of those in power," it reads.
The 36-page report also details how CREW has made 180 legal challenges during Trump's 12 months in power, with the first being just 60 seconds after he was sworn in.
'Improper influence' in the White House
However, it's not just the President himself that is under attack in the review. Saying Trump "sets the tone" for his administration, it states that the scandals that have surrounded Trump since the election trail have "spread like a cancer".
"The result is a vast array of ethics problems and improper influence among White House staff, cabinet officials, and senior agency officials," the report said.
"After a full year of this administration, it is now abundantly clear that the executive branch under President Trump is characterised by contempt for ethics and conflicts of interest rules and for the rule of law," the report said.
Global confidence at an all-time low
This view of the President, and the various scandals that have overshadowed his time in the Oval Office, could help to explain why confidence in the US as a whole is at an all-time low.
According to a new Gallup poll, global confidence has fallen below China in worldwide approval ratings. Under Trump's predecessor President Obama, figures were around 48% during his eight-year term.
Now approval ratings of the US have fallen to 30%, marking the lowest levels since Gallup started its review more than a decade ago.
The consulting company also found that, as President Trump reaches his first anniversary, he has the lowest lowest average approval rating of any elected president during their first 12 months in office.
For many, these figures confirm their worst concerns over Trump's 'Make America Great Again' approach, which has been conducted alongside hostile foreign policies. From banning people from certain Muslim countries from entering the US, to abolishing the DACA programme that kept Dreamer immigrants safe, his methods have been less than delicate to most.
However, what financial investors will be focusing on is that stocks have reached record highs during Trump presidency and, with tax reform being implemented, there's no reason to think it might stop now.
The markets are booming
The President's personal favourites have been the movement of US stocks, creating '$6 trillion in revenue', according to Trump's Twitter account, as the Dow lept from 18,589 in November 2016 to 25,075 earlier this month.
Although it was the most rapid rise ever, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is well known for its flaws in predicting the wider state of the market. This is because it focuses on individual shares, rather than any company's market capitalisation, which isn't a very accurate way of judging the success of US businesses.
The President may have been slightly out with his figures - the market value of the S&P 500 rose in value from $19.6 trillion when he was inaugurated to around $25.1 trillion now - but it does mark a positive time for investors.
Experts believe this rapid movement has occured in good faith of the promises for corporation tax cuts and infrastructure investment that Trump made on the campaign trail. We now have the tax reforms, which will see a massive reduction in the fees US businesses pay, but many are still waiting for the spending in construction projects to emerge.
Regardless of your personal opinion of him or his ethics, it's difficult to see how Trump's first year as President hasn't made it a much more exciting time to be an financial investor.
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