An investigation conducted by USA Today has found that at least five paying members of Trump's various clubs and golf courses have been appointed to positions in the government.
WASHINGTON — When President Trump this week tapped Florida insurance executive Robin Bernstein to serve as the nation’s next ambassador to the Dominican Republic, he wasn’t just giving a business associate and longtime supporter a plum Caribbean assignment.
Bernstein also is a founding member of his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.
A USA TODAY review finds that Trump has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration, ranging from Bernstein and Callista Gingrich, the nation’s new ambassador to the Vatican, to Adolfo Marzol, a member of the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Washington, who serves as a senior adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It's relatively normal for a rich socialite or crony to be named an ambassador because they're among the only people in the world who can afford the luxurious lifestyle of a foreign ambassador, but it's not normal to appoint people who are also your paying customers.
It's not normal because no other president in modern history has refused to divest from their businesses. No other president has spent nearly a third of their time in office at their own clubs and resorts where paying members have regular access to them. A previous USA Today investigation that used golf handicap scores to track Trump's members found that lobbyists and executives have regular access to him.
Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm when he became president.