President Donald Trump’s ethics have come into question numerous times. In addition to being under investigation for alleged collusion with Russia, he has been accused of nepotism and continuing to make money from the businesses that still bear his name.
Now, it seems that the narcissistic real-estate-mogul-turned-president-of-the-United-States has had yet another questionable situation come to light. It appears that the Trump Organization ordered replicas of the presidential seal to use as golf course markers.
According to ProPublica, the company has ordered the new tee markers emblazoned with the official seal to be manufactured; however, federal law states that the seal is only permitted for official government business. The publication notes that misusing the symbol could be a crime.
Eagle Sign and Design — a metalworking and sign company with offices in New Albany, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky — confirmed that they received an order to make dozens of 12-inch replicas of the seal to be displayed next to the tee boxes at Trump-owned golf course holes. The company did not say what client placed the order.
Owner Joseph E. Bates simply said, “We made the design, and the client confirmed the design.”
ProPublica reports that an order form for the markers said the customer was “Trump International,” but there’s no telling which courses and how many of them will feature the symbols. The Trump Organization currently owns four courses with “International” in the name in the United States and abroad. A fifth course is also underway in Bali, Indonesia.
Ethics experts reportedly maintain that using the seal on the Trump Organization’s golf courses would fall under the umbrella of exploiting the office of the presidency for commercial gain.
It should be noted that the seal has been used by former presidents for personal reasons in the past. For example, George W. Bush and Barack Obama each had customized golf balls made with the seal. Ronald and Nancy Reagan also had a set of presidential china with the seal. Even M&M's and jelly beans have featured the symbol.
The difference in Trump's case is that a private company is using the seal, according to Richard Painter, vice chairman of the government accountability group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“If we had heard of a private company using it for commercial purposes, we would have sent them a nasty letter,” Painter said.
All of the accusations of Trump's unethical practices indicate a rampant abuse of power and disregard for the system of checks and balances that presidents are expected to abide by.
If Trump truly distanced himself from his businesses as he claims, then the Trump Organization would not be trying to commercialize the presidential seal.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS, Kevin Lamarque