The former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on Monday mocked White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump’s trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as a taxpayer-funded “corporate” junket for the Trump Organization.
Trump’s trip to the city began Saturday, just days before Tuesday’s third anniversary of the Trump International Golf Club Dubai.
The first daughter participated in photo ops, meetings with Dubai officials — and even a video (above) showing her strolling languorously through the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi in a flowing gown and hijab produced by the federally funded Voice of America. She gave the keynote address in the two-day Global Women’s Forum in Dubai on Sunday.
Publicity that draws attention to Dubai’s Trump-branded golf course financially benefits President Donald Trump and his family members. The course was developed by major Dubai real estate developer Damac Properties, which pays to license the Trump name and pays the Trump Organization to run the course.
“It was nice of you taxpayers to sponsor her corporate trip,” former ethics chief Walter Shaub quipped sarcastically on Twitter. “Yer the best.”
Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Dubai to celebrate the club’s’s opening in 2017, which cost the Secret Service nearly $250,000.
Donald Trump was paid as much as $10 million by Damac in 2016 for Trump Organization golf properties in Dubai, according to his financial filings. The president personally earned $141,433 in course management fees in 2017. In 2016, before he became president, he earned $12,984 in fees.
Trump promised to divest from his businesses, as previous presidents did, before his election, but he reneged. He also vowed not to undertake any new international ventures. He broke that promise as well.
Trump is the target of a lawsuit accusing him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars federal officials from accepting payments from foreign interests. The clause is intended to guard against conflicts of interest for a president deciding between personal profits and what’s best for a nation. Spending money at a president’s businesses can also effectively serve as a conduit for bribery by foreign interests seeking favors.
Trump recently awarded Woods the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, an unusual gift for a business associate. The president frequently plays golf with Woods. U.S. taxpayers fund those trips as well.
Twitter followers had thoughts about the first daughter’s taxpayer-funded trip to Dubai.