Trump’s Scotland Visit Reportedly Cost American Taxpayers Thousands — And Made Him Richer
When Trump left England for Scotland during his trip to the United Kingdom, he wasn't merely fleeing the throngs of anti-Trump protesters in London. He was also making money: According to the Scotsman, Trump's businesses pocketed over $65,000 during the president's Scotland visit. That money paid for Trump's accommodations in a hotel that he himself owns, and it came from the pockets of American taxpayers.
Financial documents reviewed by the Scotsman show that the U.S. State Department paid at least £52,477, or $68,859, to SLC Turnberry, the company that operates Trump's loss-making golf resort in South Ayshire. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
Trump and his entourage stayed at that resort for two days during the president's visit to Scotland, according to Business Insider, and the money that SLC Turnberry received covered the cost of the president's hotel room and other accommodations.
It's unclear if this reflects the total amount of money that the U.S. government paid Trump's companies during the president's stay in Scotland, the Scotsman notes, or only part of it. However, Robert Weissman, president of the watchdog group Public Citizen, told the Scotsman that when all is said and done, Turnberry could receive as much as $200,000 in taxpayer money as a result of the president's most recent trip.
The parent company of SLC Turnberry is Golf Recreation Scotland, according to the Scotsman; Trump, through a New York-based entity called the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust, is the sole owner of that company, and his sons Eric and Don Jr. sit on its board of directors.
Trump's stay at Turnberry was the first time during his presidency that he's spent an entire weekend at one of his own properties while traveling abroad, according to Politico. While there, he played two rounds of golf and tweeted about how nice the weather was, according to the Scotsman.
According to an April report from Public Citizen, Trump's businesses have made over $15 million in revenues during his campaign and presidency. Over $200,000 of that money came from the federal government, according to Public Citizen. A public records request by the ethics group Property of the People found that since Trump has become president, the Department of Defense has spent almost $140,000 of taxpayer money at Trump-owned properties.
"Trump’s propensity for travel to his own resorts and dining at his own restaurants has resulted in considerable spending of tax dollars at Trump-owned properties," Public Citizen wrote in an April 2018 report. "Yet it is hard to assess precisely how much money has been spent, as information about spending by federal agencies at Trump properties is just starting to trickle out."
Trump's first official visit to the United Kingdom was marked by massive protests against his presidency. Around 250,000 people turned out for an anti-Trump protest in London on the second day of Trump's visit, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That protest was accompanied by an enormous balloon, made up to look like a baby version of Trump wearing a diaper, which floated above the city during the protests.
The president's reception in Scotland was no warmer, with thousands of anti-Trump protesters gathering in George Square upon his arrival. They brought with them an array of signs, one of which read "we've got enough orange bigots in Scotland already, thank you."
As a business venture, Trump's Turnberry golf course has not been a success: According to financial disclosure forms filed in the United Kingdom, the course lost $36 million in 2016, and its debt load doubled between 2015 and 2016. According to the New York Times, Trump angered residents during the construction of the resort as well, first by attempting to build on land owned by nearby residents and then by failing to create the 6,000 jobs at the hotel that he'd promised.
Most recently, Trump ran afoul of Scots by banning Irn-Bru, the popular Scottish soft drink, from his Turnberry course.