Would anyone find it surprising that Trump’s sons may have placed an order for the official presidential seal to be displayed on Trump International Golf Courses, where golfers stand to take their first stroke?
Nevermind that the potential punishment for both the golf courses and the manufacturer of the seals could be six months in prison? The seal is protected by a law that requires it to be used only for official U.S. government business.
A report from the investigative journalists at ProPublica reveals that Trump businesses, now run by Trump’s sons, have ordered dozens of 12-inch replicas of the presidential seal from Eagle Sign and Design, a sign company which has made signs for Trump courses before. Although the company didn’t confirm the client, ProPublica obtained an order form that showed Trump International was the customer.
The Trump International ordered presidential seals to use as golf tee markers.
The thing is: It's illegal to use the seal for commercial purposes.https://t.co/ZtCx54C0HM
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 5, 2018
The official seal was used on golf balls by President Obama and presidential china by Nancy Reagan. But the case this time is different because it’s a private company using the seal, according to Richard Painter, vice chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington who used to work in the George W. Bush administration.
“If we had heard of a private company using it for commercial purposes, we would have sent them a nasty letter,” said Painter.
Since Trump International Golf Courses are all over the world, the presidential seals could be sent anywhere.
The presidential seal features an eagle carrying a scroll in its beak that reads, “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “out of many, one.”
In December 2017, Trump replaced the motto with “Make America Great Again” on a presidential coin. This time, he appears to have kept the original presidential seal intact.
It turns out this isn’t the first time Trump has appropriated a formal crest to display on his golf courses. The Trump family crest has also been displayed at tee markers, but the 80-year-old family crest was apparently taken without permission from the family that originally owned Mar-a-Lago and then altered to include the Trump name.
One family member said his grandfather “would be rolling over in his grave to think [Trump] was using his crest.” Why? Well for one, he literally removed the word, “Integrity” and replaced it with, “Trump.”
From The Telegraph:
“The president continues to use the crest in the US, with the word ‘Integrity’ replaced with the word ‘Trump.’ He is banned from using it in Britain, owing to the Lyon King of Arms Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 1672. In 2007 Mr Trump went to court to be able to use the heraldry, but lost the case in 2012. He does, however, use the crest in the US, which has less strict laws about heraldry. It now adorns all his golf courses and merchandising.”
On Saturday, Trump reached a “presidential milestone” at his Palm Beach County, Florida golf club, spending an astonishing 100 days in office at one of his golf clubs.
Sorry Trump, golf still doesn’t qualify as an official presidential business.
Hear how a listener tipped off ProPublica about the potential presidential seal misuse in audio from WNYC:
For more on the Mar-a-Lago family crest:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube Video.