Donald Trump has been under fire for welcoming the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf tour to his course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Now it appears Trump’s golf property may have been in violation of federal law.
As pictures were shared from Thursday’s LIV Golf pro-am at Trump’s Bedminster golf course, the presidential seal was visibly plastered all over towels, golf carts, markers, and other items at the event.
That presents a problem, considering Trump is no longer president. Federal law prevents anyone who is not the president from using the seal in a way that might insinuate the government is sponsoring a private-sector business.
The grift, and crimes, never end. A criminal complaint has been filed against Trump’s Bedminster golf resort after the Presidential Seal was spotted on the course during the LIV Invitational. It is illegal to use the Presidential Seal for commercial purposes. pic.twitter.com/tadil0VPbZ
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 29, 2022
According to 18 U.S. Code § 713, “Whoever knowingly displays any printed or another likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
The LIV Golf event at Trump’s course was already under intense scrutiny considering the Saudi Arabian government’s ties to 9/11. LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and 9/11 victims have protested Trump’s decision to host the tour just 50 miles from Ground Zero. Considering the elevated attention surrounding this week’s LIV Golf event at Trump Bedminster, there was no way continued use of the presidential seal was going to go unnoticed.
As noted by the law, misuse of the seal can come with a penalty of up to six months in prison. While imprisonment over the violation seems highly unlikely, the latest misuse comes after the Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington already filed a criminal complaint to the Justice Department against Trump Bedminster for using the seal last year.
Despite being informed of the violation, the former president continues to breach the statute. Trump has been clear that he believes he should still be president even after losing an equitable election, but his tantrums over being booted out of office aren’t reason enough to continue displaying the seal.