Donald Trump asked the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom to push the British government to hold the British Open golf tournament at the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
According to the Times, Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson — an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune as well as owner of the New York Jets football team — followed Trump's orders and broached the subject with David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland.
Johnson did so even though his deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, told Johnson that Trump's demand was an "unethical use of the presidency for private gain," according to the New York Times. Lukens, a career foreign service officer who served as acting ambassador to the U.K. before Johnson was confirmed, was later forced out by Johnson.
Trump Turnberry — which has posted multiple years of multimillion-dollar losses — was not selected to hold the prestigious golf tournament.
But the incident is yet another instance of Trump trying to use the presidency for personal financial gain.
In 2019, Mike Pence took a detour to another Trump golf property in Doonberg, Ireland, that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The resort was nearly 200 miles away from a meeting Pence was scheduled to have with Irish officials. Pence struggled to justify why he would travel so far just to stay at a Trump property.
Also in 2019, Trump also tried to hold an important gathering of world leaders at his Trump National Doral resort near Miami, Florida. Doing so would have steered millions toward the resort, which was facing financial troubles due to declining business, according to a Washington Post report.
However, Trump backtracked from that plan after an uproar and questions about whether Trump holding an event for foreign leaders — many of whom would be staying at the resort — violated the Constitution's emoluments clause.
The emoluments clause states, "no person holding any office of profit or trust" in the United States "shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state." An emolument is defined as "a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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