US watchdog probes cost of Trump Scottish golf tour

Eric Trump, son of the US president, visited Trump golf courses in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire. Photograph: PA
Eric Trump, son of the US president, visited Trump golf courses in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire. Photograph: PA
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A leading ethics watchdog has called for a breakdown of how much public money was spent on Eric Trump’s whirlwind tour of his father’s Scottish golf resorts earlier this month.

The second son of the US president flew dozens of members of one of Trump’s US golf courses across the Atlantic to play Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire.

The large party played rounds at both courses before a celebratory barbecue and drinks reception was laid on at Turnberry’s exclusive lighthouse suite.

Now, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has demanded a breakdown of the cost of the trip to US taxpayers.

The non-profit Washington DC-based organisation, which campaigns to reduce the influence of money in politics and uphold the integrity of government officials, pointed to how previous visits to Trump properties around the world by the 35-year-old have cost the US public tens of thousands of pounds. It has filed a Freedom of Information request with 
the US Secret Service to obtain details of the expenses for the most recent Scotland trip, which was widely promoted by the Trump Organisation and its various subsidiaries on social media channels.

The visit was billed by Eric, executive vice-president of development and acquisitions of the Trump Organisation, as part of an “ultimate links tour” event that also took in a trip to Trump’s Doonbeg course in County Clare on 
the west coast of Ireland.

Photographs from the event show Eric playing golf, while a group shot taken in Aberdeenshire features 31 white men dressed in golfing attire.

All are members of Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eric was later pictured at Turnberry cutting a birthday cake to mark the 113th birthday of the South Ayrshire resort.

CREW points out that as a member of the president’s family, Eric was entitled to protection by the US Secret Service during the trip and it has written to the federal agency asking for a breakdown of the costs.

Anne Weismann, chief freedom of information counsel at CREW, said: “The requested records will shed light on the costs to the taxpayers of trips undertaken to advance the financial interests of the Trump Organisation, from which the president has refused to divest. The public interest in the Trump family’s use of federal funds to promote their international holdings is paramount.”

She added: “The requested records are a starting point for the public to determine whether the conduct of the Trump Organisation is at odds with the president’s commitment to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, and to better understand the financial impact on the public from President Trump’s business interests and holdings.”

Last year, The Scotsman revealed how the US State Department spent more than £10,000 in relation to trips by Eric to Turnberry.

The payments were authorised by the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, which is responsible for developing and implementing US foreign policy, and processed via the US Embassy in London.

According to reports in the US, Trump will be accompanied by all four of his adult children when he makes his state visit to Britain next month.