U.S. President Donald Trump used his Twitter account that has nearly 60 million followers to promote a golf course in Scotland owned by the Trump Organization on Saturday.
“Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world,” Trump wrote. “Also, furthers U.K. relationship!”
Trump’s comments soon came under fire from ethics commentators.
“This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date,” said Walter Shaub, former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, on Twitter. “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.”
Shaub is a regular critic of Trump who held the ethics role under Obama and resigned under Trump.
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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog organization that Shaub advises, also chimed in on Twitter.
“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 U.S. relationships with foreign countries,” CREW said.
Trump handed over control of his business to his sons in 2017 when his term as president began.
It is illegal to use the presidency for personal profit due to the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
Trump is currently appealing a case that accuses him of violating that clause by accepting payments from foreign representatives at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
It is not the first time Trump’s business ties have called his politics into question.
A Trump Tower project for Moscow, Russia, was worked on after Trump announced his intention to run for president.
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said that he lied to Congress about work he did on the project, saying that he told Congress work related to the project wrapped up in January 2016 but it actually continued to June of that year.
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Trump’s business ties with Saudi Arabia came under scrutiny after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by agents of the kingdom.
The Aberdeen golf course opened in 2012 and received backlash from local landowners who did not want to sell their properties at the prices Trump offered.
While Trump says the golf course can improve foreign relations, it has caused Trump to clash with the Scottish government before. Trump sued the government before becoming president over a planned wind farm just offshore from the golf course, claiming it would impede the views, but Trump lost the case just days ago.
Trump will now have to pay the Scottish government for its legal costs to do with the lawsuit.
Trump mocked wind power earlier Saturday in a speech at the conservative conference CPAC, saying “when the wind stops blowing that’s the end of your electric.”