Trump Trump ‘pressured his ambassador to move the British Open to his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland’
President Donald Trump has reportedly tried to get the US ambassador to the UK to host the British Open at his golf resort in Scotland, despite a top sponsor previously saying he can’t put politics aside to host an event there .
Woody Johnson IV, owner of New York Jets, told several colleagues that Trump asked him in February 2018 to see if the British government would help secure his Turnberry Resort as the host of the tournament, according to the New York Times.
Three people who were aware of the matter told the publication that despite the location being eliminated as one of the 10 options by organizers and warning from his deputy, Lewis A. Litches, Johnson still felt pressured and asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell.
The British government told the Times in a statement that Johnson “had not made a request from Mr Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event.”
President Trump is pictured on Turnberry in June 2016. Reportedly trying to get the US ambassador to the UK to host the British Open at his golf resort in Scotland
Trump is pictured on his Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on July 10, 2012. That club is said to be operating at a loss, as is Turnberry and one in Ireland.
Woody Johnson IV (left), owner of New York Jets, is said to have asked Scotland’s Secretary of State David Mundell (right) to turnberry to host the British Open, following pressure from Trump
However, the publication points out that the statement did not acknowledge whether Johnson mentioned Turnberry, which Trump became the owner of in 2014.
Litches – who served as ambassador until Johnson arrived in November 2017 – emailed colleagues about what had happened, saying he was forced out of his alternate role a few months later. Litchen’s role ended in 2019.
Colleagues told the Times that it was after he gave a speech at a British university with a positive anecdote about Barack Obama’s 2013 trip to Senegal when Litchen was the envoy.
The White House, State Department, and Johnson declined to comment on Trump’s instructions regarding Turnberry for the Times report on Tuesday.
The constitution does not allow a president to take advantage of gifts of profit from foreign governments.
The lucrative event is organized by the Royal and Ancient (R&A) Golf Association.
It is unclear how much influence the government would have had on the tournament. The venue has been selected from a pool of 10 courses based on criteria such as preparedness and public infrastructure.
“We have not received any approaches to this from the British or Scottish governments,” said R&A spokesman Mike Woodcock.
The British Open is not scheduled for the next four years in Turnberry, but the Times reports that if it had, the Scottish or British government should have paid for security at the event.
The constitution does not allow a president to take advantage of gifts or profits from foreign governments. Government ethics experts say he may have benefited from having to pay for security at the event
That, in turn, would lead to Trump’s club taking advantage of the event being held there, government ethics experts said.
President Barack Obama’s special adviser on ethics and later as his ambassador to the Czech Republic said it was “diplomatic malpractice” to ask for a favor like Johnson would have done.
“Because once you do that, you put yourself in a compromised position,” said Norman L. Eisen. “They can always say,” Remember the time when you made that suggestion. “No experienced diplomat would do that. ‘
Johnson’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, emailed colleagues about what had happened, saying he was forced out of his alternate role a few months later in 2019
Trump has been the subject of criticism when it comes to his hotels that may benefit from his American leadership.
The Pentagon admitted it sent troops to stay in Turnberry for overnight stays during their landing in Glasgow.
Trump’s 16 golf courses are said to generate a third of family income.
But in 2017, a chief sponsor of the Scottish Open admitted that Trump’s presidency made it nearly impossible to host major events on his courses.
“Politically aside, Trump would be an ideal location – but you can’t put politics aside,” Martin Gilbert, the director of Aberdeen Asset Management, told reporters at the time.
The Times reports that two courses in Scotland and one in Ireland are at a loss. After investing $ 150 million in the Turnberry upgrade, it lost $ 1 million on $ 19 million in revenue in 2018.
Trump has also been criticized for encouraging Mike Pence to stay at his hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland last year, and chose his resort in Doral, Miami as the location of the G7 meeting that was eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, there are those in the city who do business with the government at his Washington DC hotel.
The Times reports that some of the complaints were filed with the State Department of State last fall, as part of a routine evaluation of diplomatic operations at the embassy.
The findings filed in February were expected to be included, one of the researchers said, but the report has not been made public.
The State Department said Johnson led the embassy “honorably and professionally.”
“We stand behind Ambassador Johnson and look forward to continuing to ensure that our special relationship with the UK is strong,” the department said in a statement.