Trump's Irish Golf Course Posts, Then Deletes, Tweet Promoting President Trump's Visit after Ethics Complaints

Trump International Golf Links, Doonbeg, a golf resort operated by the Trump family, tweeted a welcome Friday to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump who visited the course following their state visit to the United Kingdom. However, the resort subsequently deleted the tweet after complaints that the message was an apparent violation of a 2017 ethics agreement outlined by a Trump Organization lawyer.

"What an honour it was to have the President of the United States @POTUS and the First Lady @FLOTUS stay with us in Doonbeg," the now-deleted tweet proclaimed alongside a video of the president's helicopter landing.

That message appeared to violate a promise from Trump tax attorney Sheri Dillon who, during the president-elect's transition to the White House, described an ethics pledge involving Trump-operated properties and the new commander-in-chief.

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Among a host of commitments designed to disentangle the Trump business from the White House, Dillon said 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."

"I hope that the White House security, ethics, and communications offices have a long list of dos and don'ts regarding President Trump and visits to his properties," Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, told Newsweek in a written statement. "This blunder might have slipped through the cracks, but it certainly raises security questions as well as questions about everyone's commitment to ensure the President isn't part of [the] Trump organization's business affairs."

The Trump Organization has come under similar criticism for emblazoning imagery associated with the presidency on its products. The Trump Store earlier this year rolled out merchandise including soaps, mugs and T-shirts branded with the White House façade. The White House imagery was removed after substantial criticism from ethics experts.

Another tweet from the Doonbeg resort's social media account on Friday appeared to promote the resort's golf course. A video included in the tweet showed President Trump teeing off; the president's official Twitter handle was also tagged in the message.

In 2016, Dillon justified the president's retention of his interests in the Trump Organization by clarifying the steps both the company and the then-president-elect were taking to negate conflicts of interest.

"We believe this structure and these steps will serve to accomplish the president-elect's desire to be isolated from his business interests and give the American people confidence that his sole business and interest is in making America great again, bringing back jobs to this country, securing our borders and rebuilding our infrastructure," Dillon said at the 2017 press conference.

But critics have contended that President Trump's ongoing interest in his company, regardless of his removal from its day-to-day operations, puts the president in a position to eventually profit from decisions he makes while in office. Several lawsuits have been filed pursuant to the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which some scholars argue prohibits the very business ties Trump has maintained as president.

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment.

President Trump Concludes Stay In Doonbeg
US President Donald Trump departs on Marine One following his stay at the Trump International golf resort on June 7, 2019 in Doonbeg, Ireland. Getty/Charles McQuillan

Trump purchased the resort in Doonbeg — a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast, about an hour west of Limerick — in 2014. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump downplayed the purchase, calling it "small potatoes," and claiming he was merely trying to cash on during an economic downturn in Ireland and that he would hand the resort over to his children to manage.

"We spent a lot of money on making it just perfecto and now it's doing great. But I don't care about that stuff anymore. It is like small potatoes, right," Trump said during a 2016 campaign rally in South Carolina, according to the Irish Times. "I'll let my kids run it, have fun with it, let my executives have a good time, but I don't care about it."