Trump is known for his quick trigger when it comes to lawsuits, but his election to the presidency may open himself up big time.
President-elect Donald Trump is known to use the courts to do battle with his opponents, but the tables could get turned against him during his presidency by competitors to his business, according to a report.
Politico is reporting that competitors to the Trump-branded hotels in the United States, or even some of his international properties, could claim that as foreign nations try to score points with Trump by staying in his hotels, that they are being hurt by this unfair advantage. This legal approach is known as “competitor standing,” and it has been used by anti-immigration groups to help plaintiffs block immigration and labor policies that supposedly hurt American workers — meaning a legal doctrine used by Trump’s allies could be used to attack Trump himself.
“It has kinds of mixed results,” Politico quoted institute attorney John Miano as saying. “It normally works more than it doesn’t work, but then the courts sometimes make up reasons on the fly …You don’t know what they’re going to make up to deny standing.”
Since Trump doesn’t appear to have any intent on completely divesting himself from his businesses, and since it is obvious that foreign diplomats seeking to curry favor with the president will stay in his hotels instead of other alternatives, Trump may be opening himself to one epic lawsuit during his time as president.
The hypothetical lawsuit would invoke the “foreign emolument” clause of the Constitution, which bans U.S. officials from getting benefits from foreign governments without congressional permission.
It wouldn’t be an easy legal battle to win, but it’s more than possible, and this is certainly a unique situation. And even if the lawsuit were ultimately unsuccessful, it could certainly create a big stain on a Trump presidency, and could drag out for a long time providing a major distraction to him while he’s trying to run the country.