President Donald Trump will have to pay the Scottish government’s legal fees after a lengthy court dispute over a wind power development project near his golf resort that ended in a victory for Scotland in 2015.
Judges in Scotland ruled last week that the Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd must pay the legal costs of the court case, which began when Trump sued the government while he was running for president.
The president sought to stop the construction of 11 wind turbines on land next to his golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, arguing that the project would be esthetically unappealing.
The case eventually made its way to the U.K. Supreme Court in 2015, which rejected Trump’s case, allowing the Scottish government to move ahead with the project.
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.
“Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world,” he said. “Also, furthers U.K. relationship!”
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
The Atlantic’s David Frum pointed out on Twitter Sunday morning that Trump seemed to be “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.”
Ethics experts and watchdogs also criticized Trump’s tweet. Former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics said Saturday, “This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date.”
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
The Citizen for Ethics organization, which currently has an ongoing lawsuit against Trump for illegally receiving payments from foreign governments said on Twitter that the “president is using an official statement as an ad for his business…”
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