Donald Trump, as president, has made a habit of comingling personal and governmental business to his benefit, but Trump’s tweet Saturday morning about his golf club in Scotland is perhaps the most explicit example of Trump using his office as a tool of self-promotion and personal gain.
Trump has never been much for ethics and the GOP has given the president carte blanche to do as he pleases, no matter the appearance of impropriety. The Aberdeen course that Trump promo’d was Trump’s first course in Europe, but has failed to take off like the Trump Organization had anticipated when buying the course in 2006. Trump promised the club would create as many as 6,000 jobs in the community. The reality, as is often the case with Trump, has been much less rosy, and the course has lost money each year under Trump’s management and employs less than 100 people, according to the Washington Post.
Ethics watchdogs pounced on the Trump statement explicitly linking his personally owned golf course as a tool of American public diplomacy:
• “There it is. The president is using an official statement as an ad for his business and making sure everyone knows he ties his business to US relationships with foreign countries,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tweeted.
• “This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date,” Walter Shaub, CREW senior adviser and former head of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted. ” . . . This is shameless, corrupt and repugnant presidential profiteering. This is an invitation to graft.”
• “The Framers adopted the Foreign Emoluments Clause because they were deeply concerned that the nation’s leaders might put their financial self-interest above the national interest,” Brianne J. Gorod, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, tweeted in response.
Another day another dollar.