Former President Trump has continued to use the presidential seal eighteen months after exiting the White House despite ethics complaints and the risk of running afoul of federal law.
In a report on Friday, the Washington Post disclosed that the presidential seal was seen affixed to multiple items at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey — as the one-time president hosts the controversial Saudi Arabian-sponsored LIV Golf tournament in light of the Saudi government’s alleged human rights abuses.
“The seal was plastered on towels, golf carts, and other items,” the Post stated. The wall of a viewing room on the 18th green also had the seal on it, according to The Independent, despite complaints that the image was being exploited for commercial purposes.
\u201cTrump used the presidential seal on multiple items during a Saudi-backed tournament at his NJ golf course.\n\nIt's against it law to use it in ways that could convey \u201ca false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States.\u201d https://t.co/9kFrcGfYAm\u201d— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics) 1659114039
The Post also noted that using the “presidential and vice-presidential seals in ways that could convey a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States” violates federal law and could result in “imprisonment of not more than six months, a fine, or both.”
The report comes one year after a nonpartisan ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington, demanded the Justice Department investigate the ex-president’s Bedminster golf club’s illegal use of the seal.
The watchdog filed a criminal complaint last July after the seal was spotted on a tee golf marker in an Instagram photo earlier that month.
However, as is his nature, Trump has persisted in wanton disregard for ethics, law, and civility. In June, a Forbes reporter called attention to an Instagram photo posted in April showing the seal in the grass near the 18th hole near the Trump International golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida.
\u201cFore!\n\nA fourth Trump golf course appears to be violating law by using presidential seal\n\nfor @forbes\n\nhttps://t.co/yrQtWJdVnY\u201d— Zach Everson (@Zach Everson) 1654535714
ProPublica disclosed in a 2018 report that the Trump Organization had ordered “dozens” of golf course markers bearing the presidential emblem, which denotes the possibility of their use for commercial purposes.
The seal has appeared in at least four of Trump’s golf clubs so far, including one in the Bronx and another in Jupiter, Florida.
In its 2021 criminal complaint, the watchdog accused Trump of illegally profiting from the presidential emblem while “actively challenging the legitimacy” of President Biden’s victory.
“Unlawful use of the presidential seal for commercial purposes is no trivial matter, especially when it involves a former president who is actively challenging the legitimacy of the current president,” the ethics watchdog wrote.
The flagrant use of the presidential logo isn’t the only controversy encircling the former president, who the Justice Department is reportedly investigating for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
9/11 justice groups slammed Trump for hosting the cash-rich LIV Golf event “less than 50 miles from Ground Zero” and denounced participating golfers as “cowards” for denying that they were partaking in the tournament solely for the money.
“If we can’t get a golfer to at least look us in the eye and tell us they are doing it for the money and they don’t give a s*** about the atrocities of Saudi Arabia, they’re cowards,” said a protester whose father died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
\u201c"If we can't get a golfer to at least look us in the eye and tell us they are doing it for the money and they don't give a shit about the atrocities of Saudi Arabia, they're cowards."\n\n\u2014 9/11 Justice's Brett Eagleson on Trump hosting, and golfers playing in, Saudi-backed LIV Golf\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1659107102
Trump dismissed the criticism, some of which originated from families of survivors and victims of 9/11.
“I don’t know much about the 9/11 families, I don’t know what is the relationship to this, and their very strong feelings, and I can understand their feelings,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal.