Trump brand golf course to open in Dubai

Trump brand golf course to open in Dubai
Donald Trump's sons will attend the inauguration of a new branded Trump golf course in Dubai, amid accusations of conflicts of interest.
3 min read
14 February, 2017
Trump sons Donald and Eric are influential in their father's administration[Getty]
In the first significant new launch since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, his business empire is set to open a new branded golf course in Dubai today - prompting fresh concerns over conflicts of interest.

Trump International Golf Club Dubai will open on Saturday, with Trump progeny Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump expected to attend the inauguration.

Since winning the election, President Trump has been vocal about distancing himself from his business operations, promising to hand over corporate control to his sons. However, he has resisted divesting completely from his interests, even in the face of calls to do so from ethics groups.

According to the US constitution: "No person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, shall without the consent of the Legislature accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state."

Which means that potentially any Trump brand goods or services sold abroad is an opportunity for foreign interests to indirectly bribe the president.

Last week controversy abounded at the Trump owned Mar a Lago resort in Palm Beach, when private members with no security clearance were able to get close and chummy with the president and his team.

Club goers were thrilled to be part of the action as President Trump, in the company of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, held a crisis meeting in response to the recent North Korean ballistic missile test.

The Dubai golf club launch comes just over one month after Trump, then president-elect, said he had rejected a $2 billion deal in Dubai as a personal, and not official, move.

A week previously, CBS reported that the Palm Beach resort had doubled its membership fee to $200,000, in the wake of the owner's election victory - prompting accusations of profiteering

"I didn't have to turn it down," Trump told a press conference in New York. "But I have a no-conflict-of-interest provision as president."

The Trump Organisation promised on 11 January that it would no longer pursue new deals outside of the US. The luxury 18-hole Dubai golf course predates that pledge, with talks surrounding the project going back to 2015.

Though US presidents are not legally required to give up businesses or investments while in office, in 1977 Jimmy carter gave up all financial stake in his family peanut farm, to avoid any possible accusation of conflict of interest (post-presidency, Carter took back control of the farm and found it to have been tragically mismanaged).