The Slatest

Trump Turns U.K. Trip Into Taxpayer-Subsidized “Infomercial” for Scottish Golf Resort

President Donald Trump walks as he plays a round of golf on the Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry, the luxury golf resort southwest of Glasgow, Scotland on July 14, 2018.
President Donald Trump walks as he plays a round of golf on the Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry, the luxury golf resort southwest of Glasgow, Scotland on July 14, 2018.
ANDY BUCHANAN/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is having an eventful couple of days. First he made the Western world nervous by putting into doubt the continuity of the NATO alliance and on Monday he’ll hold a closely watched meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. But in the middle, there’s time for some rest and relaxation at the type of place where Trump clearly feels most comfortable: one that has his name on the front door. Trump is spending the weekend at his Turnberry golf resort in southwestern Scotland. He is clearly a fan of his money-losing resort and has taken the opportunity to repeatedly praise it before journalists over the past week.

At a news conference on Thursday, for example, Trump managed to get on the topic of his golf resort and make a plug for its beauty. “I have Turnberry in Scotland, which is a magical place—one of my favorite places,” he said. He once again mentioned Turnberry at a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May the following day. This continued Saturday morning, when as part of a series of tweets Trump plugged his resort. “The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!” Trump wrote before picking up the clubs to play a little golf.

For ethics experts, this all adds up to just the latest example—albeit a very galling one—of how the president of the United States frequently uses his public office to raise the profile of his private enterprises, notes the New York Times. Since moving into the White House, Trump has visited a Trump property on 169 days. That doesn’t just mean that the news media are talking about his properties but also legitimizes the way in which his properties become known as places where private citizens may be able to get a word in with the president, or at the very least his staff. “I view this as kind of a forced subsidy of an infomercial for his properties,” Norman L. Eisen, the chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the Times. “He’s attempting to utilize his trip to get beneficial P.R.”

Increased attention on the property though is also a reminder that the president perhaps isn’t the savvy business leader that he claims. Turnberry has lost lots of money since Trump purchased it, providing “a lesson in the strengths and weaknesses of the president’s instinctive and haphazard approach to business and politics,” notes Bloomberg.