US Ambassador to the UK Robert “Woody” Johnson told colleagues President Trump pressured him in 2018 to implore the UK government to move the British Open golf tournament to the UK. Trump Turnberry complex in Scotland, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
“Sir. Johnson apparently felt compelled to try, ”the Time reported, citing three people with knowledge of the incident.
Johnson reportedly broached the subject weeks later with then British Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, against the advice of Johnson MP Lewis A. Lukens, who was kicked out months later .
Mundell said au Time it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the story and the UK government said Johnson, “has not made any requests to Mr Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event”, but did not say whether he Turnberry had mentioned.
“The episode left Mr. Lukens and other diplomats deeply troubled,” Time reported, Johnson allegedly emailed several State Department officials about it.
The White House declined to comment Forbes or the Time.
“It is diplomatic malpractice because once you do this you put yourself in a compromised position,” former Obama ethics czar Norman Eisen said. Time. “They can always say, ‘Remember when you made that suggestion.’ No experienced diplomat would do that.
The story comes as the latest in a long line of allegations that Trump has used the presidency to benefit his businesses. Trump’s DC hotel has come under a legal review focused on its alleged use as a means of lobbying the White House by visiting foreign dignitaries. Nor is the story the first allegation of impropriety centered on Turnberry. Politico Journalist Natasha Bertrand reported in September 2019 that Air National Guard crews made abnormal stops at the station, potentially transferring millions of dollars to the Trump organization from the coffers of the Defense Department. More recently, Trump raised the possibility of hosting the G7 at his Doral Resort in Florida, which has also reportedly been discussed as a possible location for the Republican convention.
While Trump cannot be prosecuted under conflict of interest laws that govern the actions of other government officials, he is subject to the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments. “Government ethics experts have pointed out a potential violation of the emoluments clause which may still have been triggered by the president’s actions,” Time reported. “The UK or Scottish governments would most likely have to pay for the security of the tournament, an event that would benefit Mr. Trump.