Donald Trump plays golf on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. (Getty/Ian MacNicol)

Donald Trump is now expanding his golf course in Scotland

Less than a week after saying he won't be involved in foreign deals, Trump's organization expands


Jeremy Binckes
January 17, 2017 2:28AM (UTC)

Last week, Donald Trump held a press conference in which he told reporters, through his lawyer, that he would not pursue new or "pending deals" as part of a weak conflict-of-interest dodge.

That didn't last long.

On Monday, it was revealed that Trump's golf course in Scotland would be expanding, adding a second 18-hole golf course, as well as a 450-room, five-star hotel.

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A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization — not the Trump campaign — told The Guardian that "Implementing future phasing of existing properties does not constitute a new transaction so we intend to proceed."

As recently as November, the additional course and luxury hotel, as well as 950 time-share apartments, were planned for the site.

Trump's golf empire in Scotland has not won him over with residents. In building the course on an environmentally protected site — "featuring 4,000-year-old sand dunes," the New York Times notes — he feuded with neighbors and added a new chapter to his long and bizarre crusade against windmills.

The Scotland golf ventures have lost more than $31.8 million in two resorts — the Aberdeen links, as well as Trump Turnberry to the south.

As The Guardian notes, Trump is flouting his own lawyers' assurances that he's divesting.

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Richard Painter, a former White House chief ethics adviser to George W Bush, said this extra investment was a “perfect example” of the clear conflicts of interest between Trump’s newfound power as president and his family’s business interests.

“He’s using language which is ambiguous. It clearly illustrates that around the world, he will just simply expand around the various holdings and as they continue to expand, the conflicts of interest expand,” Painter said.

“It’s like [the board game] Monopoly: if you have one house on Boardwalk, it’s not a new deal to go for three hotels on Boardwalk.”

There's some irony in Trump — who calls himself "Mr. Brexit" — expanding his business in Scotland, which overwhelmingly voted to stay in the European Union. In June, immediately after the Brexit vote, Trump said Scotland "took their country back," which led to a lot of angry Scots replying to him.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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