Beyond the legal and ethical red flags

Trump tried to get the fat cat he made ambassador to the UK to muscle the UK government to muscle the British Open to spend its money at Trump’s golf resort. That’s a lot of levels of trying to muscle people to send money his way for a vulgarian from Queens.

The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to three people with knowledge of the episode.

Why would the British government want to do anything so corrupt and sleazy and trashy? They’re not the boss of the British Open, and Turnberry is a Trump racket, so…why would they consider that for a second? It’s ludicrous. And if they did, of course, the British Open would tell them to get stuffed. And they know it would. The whole thing is moronic as well as filthy…but the filth is very filthy.

The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try.

Filth. Trump is filth.

Lukens was not happy about the filth.

Mr. Lukens, who served as the acting ambassador before Mr. Johnson arrived in November 2017, emailed officials at the State Department to tell them what had happened, colleagues said. A few months later, Mr. Johnson forced out Mr. Lukens, a career diplomat who had earlier served as ambassador to Senegal, shortly before his term was to end.

That’ll teach him! We can’t have honest people in Trump’s administration; it would be unseemly.

Beyond the legal and ethical red flags, asking for such a favor from his host country would put Mr. Johnson in an untenable position as the emissary of the United States.

“It is diplomatic malpractice because once you do that, you put yourself in a compromised position,” said Norman L. Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama’s special counsel for ethics and later as his ambassador to the Czech Republic. “They can always say, ‘Remember that time when you made that suggestion.’ No experienced diplomat would do that.”

I would hope even an inexperienced one would see how gruesomely wrong it would be. Ambassadors aren’t there to funnel money to crooked presidents; that’s not what ambassadoring is for.

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