Last week, Donald Trump decided to end his contentious trip to the United Kingdom by spending two days in Scotland without transacting any official business. Instead, he spent the weekend at his own posh Scottish golf resort, Turnberry. In other words, Trump saw fit to go on yet another vacation–or a “holiday,” as our friends across the pond call it–at one of his own properties. And he did so at the expense of American and UK taxpayers.
To add insult to injury, Trump spent part of that time schmoozing with 40 Trump Organization business contacts who flew in with his son, Eric. For the umpteenth time, he made a mockery of his previous vow to distance himself from his real estate empire. Well, The Scotsman, one of Scotland’s largest newspapers, discovered something that piles obscenity on top of insult and injury. It turns out that a good-sized chunk of the bill for Trump’s latest golf holiday went right into Trump’s pocket.
The Scotsman obtained records showing that the State Department paid a total of $69,600–a little over £52,000–to SLC Turnberry Limited, the holding company for the Turnberry resort. The payments went toward hotel rooms for a “VIP visit.”
As you might imagine, rooms at Turnberry don’t come cheap. A basic suite costs £132 per night, or roughly $172. The lighthouse suite runs for a whopping £7,000 per night, or just over $6,000. According to two sources at the resort, Eric Trump stayed at the lighthouse suite for that entire weekend.
Anna Massoglia of the Center for Responsive Politics got a look at some of those documents.
This would be highly problematic by itself, given that Trump has been under fire for at least appearing to use the power of his office to enrich himself. But it turns out he used this golf holiday to line his own pocket.
Trump resigned as a director of SLC Turnberry after taking office as president in 2017. However, according to UK corporate records, SLC Turnberry’s parent company, Golf Recreation Scotland, is wholly owned by Trump through the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. While the trust is overseen by Eric and his brother, Donald Jr., their dad can tap into the proceeds any time he pleases. In other words, it’s not just hyperbole to suggest that Trump personally profited from this visit.
When David Martosko, the American political editor at the UK’s Daily Mail, saw The Scotsman’s report, he wondered what all the fuss was about.
Apparently Martosko hasn’t been paying attention. Trump has been under fire for at least appearing to be engaging in massive self-dealing. Remember, he offered no credible proposal for distancing himself from his real estate empire while in office, and has arranged things so that their proceeds continue to flow into his bank account. So yes, when the president of the United States is going on vacation at his own properties on our dime, it is a scandal.
According to NBC News’ running total, Trump has spent 128 of his 544 days in office (as of Wednesday night) at one of his golf properties. That’s 128 days in which much of the bill is not only being paid by us, but going right into his bank account. If this swamp is draining, what does it look like when it’s overflowing?
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