Sports

Donald Trump Reportedly Tried To Move The British Open To His Golf Course In Scotland

Donald Trump cheats at golf, and now it seems he tried to use his presidency to help move one of the sport’s biggest events to his own golf course. According to a report in the New York Times on Tuesday, Trump asked an ambassador to help move one of golf’s majors to his Scottish golf course.

The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to three people with knowledge of the episode.

The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try. A few weeks later, he raised the idea of Turnberry playing host to the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell.

It’s important to note that Robert Wood Johnson IV is better known as Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets. It’s a wildly inappropriate use of power for the president, who has long entangled his own real estate holdings with the power of the presidency. He was apparently told this by others, but that person soon saw themselves forced out and Trump tried to make it happen, anyway.

Still, the episode left Mr. Lukens and other diplomats deeply unsettled. Mr. Lukens, who served as the acting ambassador before Mr. Johnson arrived in November 2017, emailed officials at the State Department to tell them what had happened, colleagues said. A few months later, Mr. Johnson forced out Mr. Lukens, a career diplomat who had earlier served as ambassador to Senegal, shortly before his term was to end.

The White House declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s instructions to Mr. Johnson, as did the ambassador and the State Department.

The Open is held at a number of golf courses in the UK, with 10 currently in the active rotation while four have been retired from active use. Given the history of the game and its established courses, announcing a new location would certainly have caused a stir, let alone a course owned by the president of the United States.

Trump has already been impeached by the House of Representatives, though with a reelection vote in November and a lot of more important crises currently unfolding, it seems unlikely that anything will come of the report. But it’s yet another example of Trump trying to force his will on the sports world, and using an NFL owner to try making it happen in the process.

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