Trump’s new Chinese trademarks violate a central campaign tenet

So much for "no new foreign deals."

In this March 8, 2017, file photo, some of the Trump trademarks approved by the Chinese government are displayed on the trademark office's website in Beijing, China. Beijing has reversed itself on 9 Trump trademarks, granting preliminary approval for marks covering salon services and socks, among other things, that it initially rejected. Dozens more Trump trademarks have been formally registered in recent weeks, bringing to 39 the total number of Trump trademarks China has formally approved since the inauguration. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
In this March 8, 2017, file photo, some of the Trump trademarks approved by the Chinese government are displayed on the trademark office's website in Beijing, China. Beijing has reversed itself on 9 Trump trademarks, granting preliminary approval for marks covering salon services and socks, among other things, that it initially rejected. Dozens more Trump trademarks have been formally registered in recent weeks, bringing to 39 the total number of Trump trademarks China has formally approved since the inauguration. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

DTTM Operations LLC, a Delaware-based company affiliated with President Trump, filed and was approved for four new Trump trademarks in Macau, according to recently released government documents.

According to the documents, DTTM Operations, which specified its address as Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, listed “gambling and casino services and facilities” as the reason for the trademark application. While trademarks alone do not ensure the Trump Organization will be opening a casino in Macau, this move goes against one of the central tenants of Trump’s presidential campaign. Macau would also be familiar territory for Trump not only because of the number of Chinese trademarks his company holds, but also because Macau is the casino epicenter of the world, with a gambling economy seven times larger than Las Vegas.

At a press conference in January meant to clarify how the Trump Organization would avoid conflicts of interest once the president was sworn in, Trump lawyer Sherri Dillon stated said there would be “no new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency.”

In February, just days after Trump changed his position on China’s Taiwan policy during a call with the president Xi Jinping, the Chinese government granted the Trump Organization 38 trademarks for use in golf clubs, and insurance services among other things, a move which Washington trademark lawyer Peter J. Riebling described to The New York Times as a “gift.”

Critics of the trademarks have also noted that Trump retains a stake in his business empire. As ProPublica reported in April, Trump can still pull money from his business whenever he wants, without notifying the public. Many also question whether the trademarks amount to potential violations of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress.