Trump is reduced to hurling insults and threats in the wake of the loss of millions of dollars from previous clashes with Scotland.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Warde is the editor-in-chief of Liberals Unite (recently re-branded as The Art of Living) as well as a contributor to Mindy Fischer, Writer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can view a list of his articles here.
Trump hurls threats at the U.K. over one of his Scottish golf courses
Trump threatened the U.K. after being ordered to pay the Scottish government’s legal fees in a failed lawsuit regarding one of his golf courses.
BBC reported last week that “Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort must pay the Scottish government’s legal costs following a court battle over a major North Sea wind power development… The ruling at the Court of Session stemmed from the case going to the UK Supreme Court in December 2015.”
Trump responded on Saturday, tweeting a thinly-veiled threat to the U.K. along with a link to his golf club.
“Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship!” he tweeted.
Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship! https://t.co/3xTzzJH6Iq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2019
Think Progress reported on the connection between Trump’s tweet and his legal case in Scotland.
Trump appeared to be referencing the case on Saturday — while breaking the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which forbids a president from using the position and power of the office for personal financial gain — when he quote-tweeted a photo shared by the Trump Organization of his Aberdeen golf course.
The Atlantic‘s David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, was quick to respond, tweeting: “He was threatening the UK government with harm to the US-UK relationship if he is forced to pay the Scottish government’s legal costs in litigation Trump started & lost.”
So this explains Trump's golf course tweet yesterday. He was threatening the UK government with harm to the US-UK relationship if he is forced to pay the Scottish government's legal costs in litigation Trump started & lost https://t.co/0EWiluExDJ
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 3, 2019
Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics from January 9, 2013, to July 19, 2017, elaborated, tweeting: “This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date. This is the tone from the top that leads his appointees to violate ethics rules. This is shameless, corrupt and repugnant presidential profiteering. This is an invitation to graft.”
This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date.
This is the tone from the top that leads his appointees to violate ethics rules.
This is shameless, corrupt and repugnant presidential profiteering.
This is an invitation to graft. https://t.co/3Gce7RGEYW
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 2, 2019
Government ethics and accountability watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) weighed in as well, tweeting: “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.”
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. https://t.co/aKWQwx856g
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 2, 2019
Another point to consider is the fact that Trump’s problems with Scotland didn’t begin last week. Indeed, it was the third clash since Trump announced his presidential campaign.
Round One: Trump loses the British Open
The first clash came with the December 2015 announcement that Trump’s Turnberry Golf Resort had been pulled for consideration for the 2020 British Open Tournament. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews had been expected to endorse Trump’s golf resort to host the 2020 British Open, but after Trump’s recent slew of racist remarks about the Chinese, Mexicans, Muslims, and women – increasing concerns regarding the risk of boycotts by tournament sponsors and players were too much for the prestigious governing body.
Bear in mind, this rejection has wide-reaching implications for Trump’s golf resort empire as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world and is regarded as the worldwide “Home of Golf.”
Round Two: Trump loses bitter 2-year battle with Scotland
The second clash occurred in June 2016 when Britain’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Trump’s efforts to block the construction of a wind farm in Scotland.
As Think Progress reported at the time, Trump had been “fighting to prevent the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland, since 2013.” Trump “maintained that the wind farm, if constructed, would ruin the view of a luxury golf course he owns near the planned site of the farm. The Scottish government approved plans for the wind farm in 2013, and since then, Trump’s challenge had lost twice in Scottish courts,” and that ruling put an end to the Trump’s efforts to halt construction of the project.
Trump reduced to hurling insults
As one might expect, Trump was quick to resort to hurling insults in the wake of that ruling.
“This is an extremely unfortunate verdict for the residents of Aberdeen and anyone who cares about Scotland’s economic future,” the Trump Organization complained to the BBC. “History will judge those involved unfavourably, and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small-minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish government’s dangerous experiment with wind energy.”
Not yet satisfied, Trump hurled another series of insults during a 2016 visit to Scotland to re-open his Trump Turnberry Golf Resort. Speaking to the press regarding the U.K.’s then-recent vote to depart the European Union, Trump said Britain’s decision to leave the EU is a “great thing, ” infuriating residents of Scotland who voted against the departure. (Scotland had voted 62% to 38% to remain in the European Union.)
Trump went on mock the U.K. boasting that he would profit from the resulting decline in the value of the British Pound Sterling to its lowest rate in decades in the wake of the Brexit vote, telling reporters that “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry.”
Trump loses hundreds of millions in Scotland
There is also the financial impact to consider. Trump purchased the Turnberry resort in April 2015 for “just over $63 million,” and pumped slightly more than $300 million to upgrade the resort in hopes of hosting the British Open. Add that to the expected millions upon millions of dollars in legal fees Trump has now been ordered to pay regarding Trump International Golf Links, Scotland.
And on top of that, Business Insider reported this weekend that Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, “consistently posts annual financial losses in excess of $1 million.”
A review by Business Insider of the accounts for Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which runs the course, found loses of between $1 million and $2.4 million for every year since it opened in 2012.