Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media on the golf course at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. 
Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Trump again blurs the line between his office and his business

There’s reason to believe Donald Trump takes the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament seriously, and not because he’s a fan of the game. USA Today reported last week, for example, that Trump allegedly threatened to sue the U.S. Golf Association if it moved the event from the club he owns in Bedminster, N.J.

It’s against this backdrop that the president used his Twitter account to heavily promote the tournament, starting with this tweet on Friday morning:

“Left Paris for U.S.A. Will be heading to New Jersey and attending the #USWomensOpen, their most important tournament, this afternoon.”

From there, Trump tweeted about the U.S. Women’s Open again and again and again and again and again. He let American know that the event would be “very exciting” and he’d personally be in attendance.

In all, over the course of 48 hours, Trump used his social-media bullhorn to promote the golf tournament six times – effectively doing commercials for an event held at a private club he continues to own and profit from.

And then once the tournament was over, the president published a seventh tweet on the subject, congratulating the winner.

I appreciate the fact that the number of ongoing controversies surrounding Trump and his White House is already large, but while the conflict-of-interest questions have taken a back seat to crises such as the Russia scandal, they haven’t gone away. Between Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster, and Trump-owned hotels, these conflicts would be a major story in a normal administration.

Norm Eisen, the Obama White House’s chief ethics attorney, recently told the AP that Trump is “becoming more and more brazen in his efforts to monetize the presidency.” The fact that this quote is broadly applicable is a problem.