Washington —The Department of Justice should investigate whether Trump National Golf Club Bedminster is improperly displaying the presidential seal in violation of federal law, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
A photograph posted to Instagram in July depicts a golf tee marker displaying the presidential seal at Trump Bedminster. Federal criminal law prohibits the use of the presidential seal to falsely convey government endorsement or approval of its commercial interests.
“Unlawful use of the presidential seal for commercial purposes is no trivial matter, especially when it involves a former president who is actively challenging the legitimacy of the current president,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “The use of the seal at Bedminster not only helps Donald Trump’s business improperly profit from the prestige of the presidency, it also seems to echo false claims that Trump won the 2020 election, which is dangerous for democracy. The DOJ should act swiftly to investigate and halt any improper use of the presidential seal.”
This is not the first time the Trump Organization has attempted to improperly use the presidential seal at its golf courses. In March 2018, CREW filed a complaint with the DOJ after reports surfaced that the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach near his Mar-a-Lago property used the presidential seal on tee markers placed on the ground to show golfers where to tee off. The Trump Organization later removed them.
“From the beginning of his presidency to the end, former President Trump never shied away from using the presidency to promote his businesses, from which he continued to profit, and his personal interests,” Bookbinder said. “Apparently that pattern of using the presidency for self-enrichment and self-promotion has continued into his post-presidency. The seal should be swiftly removed from the golf course.”