Aug. 18 (UPI) — Businessman Carl Icahn said Friday he would relinquish the title “special adviser to the president on regulatory reform” that President Donald Trump conferred shortly before taking office.
Icahn said he wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest between his informal role as a presidential adviser and his personal business interests. He denied the White House title had ever presented such a conflict.
“I never had a formal position with your administration nor a policymaking role. And contrary to the insinuations of a handful of your Democratic critics, I never had access to nonpublic information or profited from my position, nor do I believe that my role presented conflicts of interest,” Icahn said.
The statement continued, saying the decision came with Trump’s “blessing” and it was made because “I did not want partisan bickering about my role to in any way cloud your administration.”
Ichan was not paid by the federal government despite the title he received.
Icahn, 81, and Trump have long business ties. Icahn purchased several Trump casino properties in New Jersey when they were on the brink of financial insolvency. Trump regularly name-checked Icahn on the campaign trail, promoting him as one of the many business leaders who would help him improve the economy and create jobs.
The White House did not immediately respond to Icahn’s announcement.