Donald Trump openly admitted to receiving money from China while serving as president, which critics say violate the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause.
“I have a hotel and somebody comes in from China, that’s a small amount of money,” Trump said at a Fox News town hall on Wednesday. “But I was doing services for them, people were staying in these massive hotels, these beautiful hotels—because I have the best hotels and the best clubs, I have great stuff—and they stay there and they pay.”
“I don’t get $8 million for doing nothing,” he added.
Trump’s comments came after the House Oversight Committee Democrats released a report last week showing his businesses received at least $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments while he was president.
A majority of the payments, about $5.5 million, came from China. Some other countries that made payments to Trump were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, India and Afghanistan.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee wrote in the report that the findings indicates that Trump violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which prohibits a president from accepting money payments or gifts “‘of any kind whatever’ from foreign governments and monarchs unless he obtains ‘the Consent of the Congress’ to do so.”
“Yet Donald Trump, while holding the office of president, used his business entities to pocket millions of dollars from foreign states and royalty and never once went to Congress to seek its consent,” Raskin wrote.
The report comes as Republicans are leading a House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden based on a similar accusation. The only difference is Republicans are yet to find any evidence that Biden received payments from China or any other foreign country.