Does President Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Exclude Countries Where He Has Businesses?

The president had admitted to having "a little conflict of interest" because of a licensing deal in Turkey, but it is not clear whether the countries listed in his immigration executive order were affected by his business interests.

  • Published 31 January 2017


Donald Trump's executive order restricting U.S. travel from predominantly-Muslim nations does not include countries where he has business interests.


President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on 28 January 2017 restricts immigration into the U.S. from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations. However, memes and stories quickly appeared to point out that this stay does not include nations where he has business interests.

The order suspends entry into the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. But critics have argued that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were not included, even though a report from the Cato Institute showed that the three countries were the point of origin for people responsible for 94.1 percent of American deaths due to terrorist attacks in the U.S. Eighteen of the 19 people responsible for the 11 September 2001 attacks also hailed from those three countries.

Prior to his inauguration, Trump said in January 2017 said that he would not divest himself of ownership of his business holding, but instead turn over management duties to his two sons. Trump’s executive branch financial disclosure form, which he submitted to the Federal Elections Commission in 2015, lists LLCs based in Dubai, the U.A.E’s largest city:

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Dubai is also the site of a Trump-owned golf course slated for completion in 2017. However, it is not immediately clear whether the sites of Trump’s business holdings have anything to do with the countries affected by his executive order.

Trump is also currently licensing his name for use on two luxury towers in Istanbul, Turkey. The disclosure form stated an income between $1 million and $5 million from that agreement:

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The president mentioned the towers in a December 2015 interview with Breitbart News chair Stephen Bannon, who would go on to become Trump’s chief advisor. Trump said at the time:

I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two..

In January 2017, the State Department issued a travel warning for Turkey, citing “increased threats from terrorist groups.” Trump’s FEC filing also included holdings in Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Indonesia.
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