The Trump family is clearly trying to protect more than business secrets with this tactic.
Donald Trump has sought the limelight and celebrity since he was a young man, yet many have observed during his days as a real estate executive and during his time as president that the man has also been tyrannical about controlling the narrative around his actions. As such, it would surprise very few that the Trump organization has required all of its employees to sign a confidentiality agreement during the employment.
However, the scope and reach of the agreement is like nothing industry insiders have ever been party to.
Superseding any existing secrecy agreements, a more restrictive — bordering on draconian — confidentiality document was distributed to Trump Organization employees following the presidential election. CBS News reports that anyone who refused to sign the agreement faced swift termination.
Speaking to the news network, Debra Soltis, an employment attorney, said of the remarkable document:
“I have reviewed confidentiality agreements in international, family-run hospitality organizations and ... I have never seen a loyalty code to a family like this.
This confidentiality agreement looks more like what you would expect to sign if you were a nanny to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's children, where you were being brought into the home and exposed to private information.”
The agreement extends far beyond matters of business, covering Trump family members stipulated to be “present, former and future spouses, children, parents, [and] in-laws.” As to the subject matter covered by the agreement, Trump Organization employees are forbidden from sharing … just about anything as it pertains to those parties listed. The taboo topics include “all political, legal, social, religious, health-related affairs, activities, views and/or opinions of any member of the Trump family ... all photographs, movies, sketches, videos, sound or image recordings or likenesses of any member of the Trump family."
Under those rules, simply sharing a photo of the president on Twitter or Facebook could be interpreted as grounds for termination and possible litigation.
The agreement doesn’t extend, by a matter of law, to instances of government inquiry, but it does obligate an employee to notify the Trump Organization of any such event.
Confidentiality agreements are commonly used in many aspects of business, but the implementation and scope of the Trump Organization’s clearly extends beyond practical business applications to manipulate and preserve the images of figures who are, by every measure, very public.
We have yet to hear much from Trump employees, but if the leaks coming from the White House are any indication, the Trump family may have a difficult time micromanaging what people close to them can and cannot say.