- President Donald Trump reportedly asked the US ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2018 to find out if it was possible for the British Open could be hosted at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, The New York Times reported.
- The request would violate a federal conflict-of-interest law which bars the president from using his political influence for personal gain.
- In the case of the golf tournament, the British and Scottish governments would likely have to pay security and hosting costs, which would ultimately benefit Trump.
- Johnson asked the secretary of state of Scotland David Mundell the British Open could be moved to a Trump resort, three sources familiar with the situation told The Times. None of the next four British Opens are scheduled to take place at the Turnberry resort, according to The Times report.
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President Donald Trump asked the US ambassador to Britain in 2018 to request that the British Open be held at the Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV, the US ambassador to the United Kingdom, reportedly asked David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland, if the Turnberry resort could host the golf tournament, three people familiar with the request told The Times.
The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis Lukens, who previously served as the acting US ambassador to the UK prior to Johnson, reportedly warned Johnson not to make the request as it would be a conflict of interest and unethical use of political power for the president’s personal company to host the event, according to The Times report.
Lukens, concerned about the request, emailed State Department officials in light of the alleged conversation between Johnson and Mundell, The Times reported. None of the next four British Opens are scheduled to take place at the Turnberry resort, according to The Times report.
Mundell told The Times in an interview last week that it would be “inappropriate” to discuss his conversations with Johnson at the time and pointed to a statement from the British government asserting that the US ambassador “made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event.”
The White House declined to comment on the The Times report.
The president is barred from requesting to host such events at resorts operated by the Trump Organization due to a federal conflict-of-interest law known as the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. In the case of the British Open, the British and Scottish governments would likely have to pay security and hosting costs, which would ultimately benefit Trump.
The emolument clause also came to light in a separate incident last year after Trump planned to host the Group of 7 summit at his Miami Doral resort in Florida, but the plan was dismissed amid backlash for the controversial decision.