The Trump Organization has received up to £575,000 through the U.K. job retention program, with at least £110,000 claimed while the former president was still in office. Critics see this as an abuse of the U.K.’s coronavirus furlough program.
Union officials are calling for an investigation of the scandal by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and have lodged complaints about Trump Turnberry’s “all-out assault on jobs and conditions.”
The former director of the Office of Government Ethics under the Obama and Trump administrations called the Trump Organization “disgraceful” for making U.K. taxpayers “prop up” Trump’s business interests.
Though Trump’s companies are entitled to access the furlough initiative of the U.K. government, critics believe that the Trump Organization made a “mockery” of the program, which was initially designed to help ensure job retention, by firing staff while simultaneously taking public money.
Mick Cash, the RMT union’s general secretary, released a statement on the matter: “It is clear to us that at the very least the principles of the job retention scheme appear to have been breached by the Trump Organisation and that should now be subjected to a detailed and forensic investigation by HMRC. It’s a scandal and as we slowly emerge from lockdown, we are calling for any discarded staff to be re-engaged on decent pay and conditions, and for that same principle to be applied to new employees as well.”
Scottish Labour MP Colin Smyth also commented: “It’s appalling that Trump has been getting bailouts from the U.K. Government on one hand while handing out redundancy [firing] notices to workers with the other. This is only the tip of the iceberg and his failing empire will have pocketed even bigger sums from the Scottish Government in rates relief, which has no conditions attached to it when it comes to job retention.”
Meanwhile, across the pond, the Trump Organization has been banned from accessing coronavirus relief packages.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the U.S. Congress, said that the Trump Organization’s pursuit of funding from foreign governments was unconstitutional, as the U.S. Constitution prohibits a president from profiting off of other foreign governments.
Walter Shaub, a former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, said in an interview with The Scotsman: “This is another example of the U.S. legal system failing to enforce the constitutional prohibition on a president’s receipt of emoluments. It’s also concerning because it means a former U.S. president is beholden to a foreign government, which may be less concerning with the U.K. than with other nations, but is concerning nonetheless. From the UK perspective, I can’t imagine the citizenry there would be any more happy than a majority of US citizens were about tax dollars propping up an American president’s business interests. It’s a disgrace to the very concept of democracy.”