Donald Trump Profiting From Presidency, Watchdog Claims, Amid Reports of Spike in Doonbeg Golf Resort Bookings

An ethics watchdog expressed concern that President Donald Trump's businesses are cashing in on the White House amid reports that his struggling golf course in Ireland saw a surge in bookings after his recent visit to the country.

According to Ireland's Herald, Trump's Doonbeg golf resort has seen a doubling of enquiries since and a more than 30 percent rise in bookings compared to 2016, before he took the presidency, in the wake of his visit this June, his first to Ireland as president.

The Herald also reported that other businesses in Doonbeg are reporting a sharp rise in bookings post the three-day Trump visit, mostly from American tourists.

Trump stayed at his Doonbeg golf resort, which he purchased in 2014 and is not profitable, during his Irish visit while his sons Eric and Don Jr.—who run The Trump Organization in his absence—toured local pubs, followed by a parade of media.

Evan Butler, director of sales and marketing at Trump's Doonbeg resort, told Newsweek he could not confirm the reported rise in bookings and declined to comment.

"We've been concerned from the very beginning that the president's business holdings would profit from his time as president and this just proves that's been the case over his first term," Tim Farnsworth, spokesperson for the nonpartisan watchdog Project on Government Oversight, told Newsweek.

The White House and Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Newsweek's requests for comment.

The Doonbeg resort broke an ethics pledge made by Trump's attorney Sheri Dillon before he came to office that "no communications of the Trump Organization, including social media accounts, will reference or be tied to President-elect Trump's role as President of the United States or the office of the presidency."

In a tweet including the president and first lady's official usernames, and a video of their helicopter arriving, Trump Doonbeg wrote: "What an honour it was to have the President of the United States @POTUS and First Lady @FLOTUS stay with us in Doonbeg."

Walter Shaub, who was White House ethics chief in the Obama administration, has also lashed out at Trump's Doonbeg trip, which came off the back of a controversial state visit to the U.K. and a trip to Normandy, France, for D-Day commemorations.

Shaub, who also worked in the Trump administration for its first six months, took aim at Trump's taxpayer-funded golfing habits. He wrote on Twitter: "How about a law that says anytime POTUS visits a property on or adjacent to a golf course, he/she must pay for all costs incurred by the entourage from the minute he/she left the White House until he/she is back inside the White House? The Golf On Your Own Damn Dime Act of 2019"

Donald Trump Melania Doonbeg golf Ireland
President Donald Trump exits Air Force One alongside First Lady Melania Trump after arriving at Shannon airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. President Trump used his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his stay in Ireland. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images