The Trump Organization has approached the British and Irish governments about having them cover the wages of employees at two of his golf courses in Scotland who have been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according Scottish newspaper The National:
“The Trump Organisation is looking to furlough workers at its Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire courses.
“The lockdown has seriously dented the family’s global business interests, which are owned beneficially by the President but run day-to-day by his two eldest sons. Estimates suggest the firm is losing around $1m a day.”
“I need a favor though.” Trump’s making another hell of an ask of a foreign government that has nothing to do with helping Americans, putting America first, or being strong. https://t.co/nzhq6531cb
— John Oberlin (@OMGno2trump) April 23, 2020
But such a move raises serious ethical issues, HuffPost reports:
“The situation raises huge ethical concerns for a president. The Trump Organization stands to gain from foreign governments at the same time Trump negotiates with them on international issues as head of the U.S. The dual role as businessman and president highlights concerns about whose interests he is serving. Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman called it a ‘flagrant violation’ of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits American officials from accepting money from a foreign government or its representatives to avoid conflicts of interest.”
As you might expect, such a request is being met with skepticism and outrage by many in the UK, with Martin Ford, an elected official in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, noting:
“The huge tab for this will be borne throughout the whole population through higher taxes. If what he says about his personal wealth is true, Trump doesn’t need the money, and I don’t see why U.K. taxpayers of the future should be helping him out.”
Amazingly, Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization with his brother, Don Jr., claims that a bailout would in no way serve to benefit the company, telling USA Today it is “solely about protecting people and their families who would otherwise be out of work.”
Such a move is barred by law in the United States, where the president’s company is headquartered. Stimulus packages passed in the U.S. specifically prohibit the Trump Organization from seeking any taxpayer bailout.
However, the president’s company is asking the General Services Administration (GSA) to reduce the rent it pays on the building which houses the Trump International hotel in Washington, D.C. That too presents an obvious conflict of interest because the renter of the property also happens to be head of state and therefore has control of the GSA.
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