American taxpayers have paid thousands of dollars for Trump administration officials to stay at the president’s high-end resort in Scotland, The Scotsman newspaper wrote, in just the latest example of how he continues to reap in big bucks while in public office.
The Scottish newspaper wrote that that the Trump Turnberry resort received a payment of $7,585 U.S. dollars for “VIP visits” by members of the president’s administration in preparation for the president’s upcoming visit to the United Kingdom in July. Trump is expected to travel to Scotland during the visit.
Trump’s penchant for staying at his own resorts is well-known. In the early months of his presidency, his frequent visits to Trump-branded properties came at huge cost to taxpayers. And his multiple weekend stays his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida led to the property received the infamous nickname “the winter White House.”
A preliminary visit by administration officials to Trump’s Scottish resort suggests the president may be planning to make yet another stay at a property bearing his name.
A trip by the president to Turnberry would almost certainly be profitable for the president, but blurs ethical lines.
Brendan Fisher of the Campaign Legal Center told The Scotsman that it is “difficult to see how it is in the U.S. public’s interest for President Trump to spend taxpayer funds visiting his golf course on an official trip — although it is certainly in the president’s personal financial interest.”
As president, Trump has refused to heed the advice of ethics experts and divest from his hotels and businesses. Repeated clashes over this refusal led to the resignation of former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, who has since become one of the biggest critics of the president’s use of Trump-branded properties.
Trump has also shown his willingness to conduct sensitive international business at his resorts, even in full of view of hotel guests. Considering Trump’s visit will come after a number of controversial moves by his administration, including exiting the Iran nuclear deal, it isn’t far-fetched to see a repeat of this scenario playing out.