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Trump Denies Talking to Ambassador About Moving British Open to His Resort

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WASHINGTON — President Trump mentioned on Wednesday that he by no means spoke together with his ambassador to Britain about asking the British authorities if it may assist steer the world-famous British Open golf event to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland.

The ambassador, Robert Wood Johnson IV, instructed a number of colleagues in February 2018 that he had been requested to see if he may prepare for the event to be performed at Mr. Trump’s property and was warned not to take action by his deputy as a result of it could be an unethical use of the presidency for personal achieve, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to strive anyway, and some weeks later he raised the thought of Turnberry internet hosting the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, The Times reported. The episode left a number of American diplomats unsettled, and the ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, despatched emails describing what had occurred to State Department colleagues. Mr. Johnson later pressured out Mr. Lukens.

Asked in regards to the report at a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Trump denied talking with Mr. Johnson on the matter, though he managed to advertise his Scotland golf course on the identical time.

“No, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that, about Turnberry,” Mr. Trump mentioned. “Turnberry’s a highly respected course, as you know, one of the best in the world. I read a story about it today, and I never spoke to Woody Johnson about doing that, no.”

The White House, the State Department and Mr. Johnson’s embassy have been requested for remark earlier than the article was printed, and all declined to instantly deal with the matter. In a Twitter posting on Wednesday, Mr. Johnson didn’t deny the episode however mentioned solely that he didn’t violate any laws. “I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times,” he wrote.

Mr. Johnson, the billionaire inheritor to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune and the proprietor of the New York Jets, instructed a number of folks in regards to the matter.

Mr. Lukens confirmed on Wednesday that Mr. Johnson had knowledgeable him about Mr. Trump’s request. “I advised him that doing so would violate federal ethics rules and be generally inappropriate,” Mr. Lukens wrote in a textual content message to NPR.

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