UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EST — A spokesman for Donald Trump has denied an Argentine media report that claimed the president-elect discussed business interests on a call with Argentina's president.
"Any reports alleging a discussion about personal business interests between President-elect Trump and President Macri are completely untrue," the Trump camp said in a statement. "The Argentine President and his office have also refuted these baseless claims."
Business and politics were reportedly indistinguishable during a recent call from Argentina's president to President-elect Donald Trump. In a conversation aimed at congratulating Trump on his Election Day triumph, the United States' next president apparently used his newfound influence to attempt to push along the construction for a planned Trump property, according to a report Sunday from Argentine newspaper La Nación.
Jorge Lanata, a respected journalist in Argentina, reported that when Argentine President Mauricio Macri called Trump to wish him well, the U.S.' president-elect countered by asking him to deal with a Buenos Aires construction project held up by a maze of red tape. The planned office building has been hampered by issues over financing, complications importing materials and a number of permit requirements, according to liberal-leaning website Talking Points Memo and Spain's El Pais newspaper.
Lanata reported the apparent details of this call in a television appearance. "Macri called him," Lanata said in Spanish. "This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he's constructing in Buenos Aires, it wasn't just a geopolitical chat."
A spokesman for Macri told Public Radio International the reports were "absolutely untrue." The businessmen have long ties. Macri's father, Francisco, sold a New York development project to Trump in the 1980s, the New York Times repored.
Such a move from Trump would certainly seem like leveraging his newfound, massive power into dollars for the Trump Organization, which is set to be left in the hands of his adult children Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr.
It's far from the first such conflict of interest in Trump's short tenure as president-elect. Ivanka sat and observed when her father met behind closed doors with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. After Ivanka appeared alongside her father on the news program "60 Minutes," her jewelry line sent out a press release attempting to pitch a bracelet she wore on camera. Trump himself reportedly met with Indian business partners this week in New York City's Trump Tower. Foreign diplomats have even begun to book rooms at Trump's new Washington, D.C., hotel in an attempt to curry favor with the president-elect, the Washington Post reported.
Trump routinely criticized his opponent Hillary Clinton during the campaign for what he alleged were pay-to-play schemes — such as the former secretary of state giving paid speeches to investment banks. The president-elect's camp pushed back this week at allegations of any impropriety.
"Obviously we will comply with all of those laws and we will have our White House counsel review all of these things," said Reince Priebus, who Trump appointed to be his chief of staff, in a CNN interview Sunday. "We will have every 'i' dotted and every 't' crossed, and I can assure the American people that there wouldn't be any wrongdoing or any sort of undue influence over any decision-making."