President Donald Trump has generated nearly $ 1.5 million in revenue for the past three years from an online retail store owned by the company he founded.
While dozens of Trump-branded products sold by the store are listed as being made in the US, a significant proportion are made overseas or are of unknown origin – which seems to contradict the President's "Buy American" agenda.
As of Friday, there are currently over 100 products in the "Made in America" collection in the online Trump store, where they are labeled either "Made in America" or "Made in USA" according to a CNBC rating . At least 180 other items that have been tested by CNBC are marked as Made in Scotland, France or Italy, marked "Decorated in the US", or have no country of origin at all.
That means just over a third of the items on the online Trump store are described as officially made in the US. There's also a personal Trump Store in New York's Trump Tower.
Trump Organization's online subsidiary is titled T Retail LLC in its disclosure reports. USA Today first spotted the discrepancy, noting that the president made more than $ 107,000 on this business when it launched in 2017.
Trump's latest disclosure report shows that he raised just over $ 930,000 from online retail stores in the past year. The president reportedly made at least $ 440 million in total in 2019, according to his latest financial reporting.
Trump has been under scrutiny for his company's affairs since taking office as president. More than $ 17 million in payments have been made by his own re-election team, the Republican National Committee, and other GOP-led groups to use Trump real estate for campaign events.
The president still owns the Trump organization, but it is currently run by the president's older sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to repeated requests for comment, including detailed questions about where the Trump Store's products were made. White House officials also did not respond to emails asking for comment.
Ethics experts say that while it is not illegal for the president to make money from this part of the company he still owns, it is certainly not comparable to the behavior of previous presidents.
"The president who personally benefits from the sale of goods in his name may not be breaking the law, but he is against the norms of behavior that we would expect from our country's most prominent official," said Brendan Fischer, director of the ethics watchdog group, Campaign Legal Center said in an email.
Fischer also noted that while the Trump Organization has sold branded goods in the past, the fact that the company opened this online store in the year he became president suggests that the company will benefit from his presidency could.
"It seems to be another example of Trump blurring the lines between public service and his personal financial interest and Trump benefiting from the presidency," he said. "The Trump Organization may have been selling Trump branded goods before Trump became President, but they didn't have this online store until after Trump took office and after the name 'Trump' became synonymous with whites' prestige House was furnished. "
The President has repeatedly advanced an America First and Buy American agenda.
Trump recently signed an executive order calling on the US government to compile a list of key medicines and buy them and medical supplies from US companies instead of countries like China.
In 2017, Trump signed an executive order to curb the issuing of visas to foreign workers as part of his "Buy American, Hire American" initiative.
Last year Trump signed another ordinance extending his Buy American, Hire American policy initiatives. At the time, White House advisor Peter Navarro said it was intended "to extend coverage for Buy American to not just things like iron and steel and aluminum, but cement and other manufactured products as well."
This type of agenda has also become a political wedge problem between Trump and his opponent, alleged Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The former vice president released his own "Buy American" proposal, which calls for a four-year increase in government purchases of goods and services in the United States by $ 400 billion and $ 300 billion in new research and development in US technology companies .