Ambassador Directed to Pressure British Open Organizers
The New York Times just broke the story that Donald Trump directed the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom to pressure the organizers of the British Open to hold their tournament at his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, a move designed to line his own pockets.
It is a direct violation of the office of the President to accept any income or monies from private business holdings during their term. Trump has been a walking violation of the Emoluments Clause since he was inaugurated, with a multitude of conflicts of interests usually related to events at Trump’s properties. And yet, Ambassador Woody Johnson ignored warnings and set aside his own misgivings about such a blatant abuse of the office and did indeed contact British Open organizers to try to negotiate the move. It was not meant to be a request, but a demand.
The British government is denying this request was made, and Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell offered no details, saying it was inappropriate to discuss any conversations he may have had with Johnson. This is a move not unlike asking a foreign government to interfere in our elections or investigate a political opponent. Using the power of the Oval Office to pressure an ally to move an event simply for personal monetary gain should be considered an impeachable offense.
This is far from the first time Trump has tried to use one of his own properties for official events. Mike Pence famously stayed at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, a full 180 miles away from where Pence was holding meetings in Dublin. Trump also famously tried to move the G7 to the Trump Doral, a plan that was quickly squashed.
Such a violation of the Emoluments Clause would end any other presidency, but as this is just another atop a pile that seemingly has no bottom, look for this latest infraction to barely make a blip.