Donald Trump was feeling loose on New Year’s Eve.
The president-elect, unwinding after nearly two years of stoking white resentment and sending erratic tweets, spent the evening socializing with hundreds of guests who paid $525 each to close out the year at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
At one point, in footage obtained by CNN, Trump stood up to give a brief speech praising a business partner and saying he did not “give a shit” about the guests who were non-members at the club—which costs $100,000 to join, followed by an annual fee of $14,000.
The latter is familiar Trump, who sorts the world into winners and losers, sycophantic supporters and enemies, and, most significantly, the people who make him money and those who don’t.
But his remarks praising the business partner who licensed the Trump name for golf courses in Dubai are yet another reminder that even if Trump manages to separate himself from his business during his presidency, his conflicts of interest—like his knowledge of where in the world and with whom the Trump Organization already has pending deals and business relationships—remain perfectly intact.
When asked over the weekend about the optics of the president-elect hosting and praising his business partners at a private event that is also generating income for his company, Trump minimized the issue.
“It is not a big deal. You people are making that a big deal, the business,” Trump said. “It’s actually a very simple situation.”
Trump’s conflicts are pretty straightforward, actually. Just not in the way he thinks.