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President Trump is forcing academics to rethink the definition of corruption, according to political expert

President Donald Trump is causing corruption analysts to rethink the very definition of corruption due to his bending rather than breaking of the law, according to a political expert at the University of Sussex.

Professor of Politics Dan Hough described Trump as the "gift that keeps on giving" during a recording of a new episode of Trump Watch Sussex.

Discussing the theme of corruption with host Dr Melissa Milewski, Professor Hough explained Trump’s ‘great skill’ at defying conventions and social norms.

“He does things people don’t like, or he goes against conventions,” said Professor Hough on the podcast.

“He’s a great exponent of bending the law as opposed to breaking it. And this leads us to one of the big problems about corruption analysis.

“The vast majority of corruption is legal. Only a fool breaks the law regularly because they know that normally brings with it penalties.

“Donald Trump pushes this to the extreme in that he does things that people might not like but don’t fit in to the traditional legal understanding of what corruption is.”

Professor Hough used the example of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, explaining that the fee for members has gone up exponentially since the businessman was elected President, with the club making ‘arguably millions of pounds more’.

The political expert explained that more people are joining the club as they’re looking to curry favour with the President and are eager to show that they’re working with rather than against Trump.

“It’s deliberate abuse of a public role for private gain”, said Professor Hough.

“But is it illegal? Absolutely not.”

Professor Hough also suggested that the White House and its staff were now shaping norms too, drawing attention to the fact that "things are more acceptable now than they were in the past".


To listen to the full episode visit

By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Monday, 10 December 2018