The most corrupt president in the nation’s history hit a new low for behavior today even before the extended remix of a “Trump’s greatest grievances” speech he gave at the right-wing bigotry-fest CPAC. In violation of every ethics rule on the books, Trump used his official Twitter account to promote his own business interests with this retweet of a Trump Organization post that was nothing more than a commercial for his golf course in Scotland.
Even worse, he tried to claim that his ownership of the luxury resort was a benefit to the diplomatic relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom — something that thousands of people in Scotland would beg to differ with.
Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship! https://t.co/3xTzzJH6Iq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2019
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Trump may be proud of his golf course in Aberdeen, but he seemed to forget that his own Department of Justice has ruled that his tweets are “official statements of the President of the United States” and, as such, are subject to the same ethical laws against self-dealing that any public official would have in their official communications.
Ethics watchdogs immediately pounced upon the president’s latest transgression as if he would ever be held accountable for the complete destruction of the ethical norms and legal requirements that Trump has ignored since the day he announced his candidacy.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) condemned the president for utilizing his powers to illegally promote his own business.
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 US relationships with foreign countries. https://t.co/aKWQwx856g
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 2, 2019
“A senior CREW adviser called the president’s tweet ‘shameless, corrupt, and repugnant’,” according to The Hill.
Others on Twitter were equally scathing in their assessments of Trump’s tweet.
Umm. Are you supposed to be using your Official Presidential Twitter account to promote your own businesses?
I don't think so!
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) March 2, 2019
Remember when you sued Scotland's government to stop the building of windmills near your golf course?
And you lost?
And you appealed up to the UK Supreme Court…and lost?
And you were ordered to pay the government's attorney's fees because your case was frivolous?
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) March 2, 2019
“5 CFR § 2635.702 – Use of public office for private gain: An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, etc .”
What’s a few more broken laws?
— BallsOut (@bjcreigh) March 2, 2019
What a beautiful violation of the Emoluments Clause.
Speaking of weak holes, we have a huge one in the Oval Office.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) March 2, 2019
Most of us in Scotland truly hate you!
Maybe you should tell everyone how you cheated and intimidated some elderly citizens out of their homes beside Aberdeen.
You didn't care about any people or the environment, only yourself, as usual.
Please see my pinned tweet…
— Stu Cameron (@stucam7771) March 2, 2019
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, also slammed Trump for his blatant disregard of the rules governing the behavior of elected officials.
This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date.
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. https://t.co/3Gce7RGEYW
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 2, 2019
Trump may as well have printed this invitation to graft on White House stationery, so obvious is his intention to flaunt the thumbing of his nose at the emoluments clause of the Constitution, knowing that even if he is impeached, he’ll likely never be convicted due to the spineless Republican majority still in place in the Senate.
Ethics watchdogs can rail against the president’s unconstitutional actions all they want, but without a significant outcry from the public — at a level that would convince GOP enablers in the Senate that they risk losing their next election if they don’t take action against Trump — everyone is just spitting their invective into the wind.
One can only hope that —as a first step — the courts will rule against the president in the suits brought by the Attorneys General of Maryland and Washington DC accusing him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution in profiting off the presidency by accepting payments through his D.C. hotel. After that, let’s hope that it’s only the first step in bringing down his entire presidency.
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Original reporting by Rachel Frazin at The Hill.