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Trump wants Farage to help fight offshore wind near his Scotland golf course

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Think Progress

The list keeps growing.

Trump at his Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, July 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Scott Heppell

Trump at his Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, July 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Scott Heppell

It’s no secret President-elect Donald Trump was going to bring unprecedented conflicts of interest with him to the White House; the question was how he would separate himself from his vast personal financial interests before taking office.

However, it seems Trump has taken the opposite approach — now using his new leverage with leaders near and far to benefit his business empire.

In a recent meeting with Nigel Farage, a British politician and member of the European parliament, Trump urged Farage and others present to oppose offshore wind farms, according to a New York Times report.

Trump has waged a long and, thus far, fruitless war against offshore wind in Scotland — namely, one project planned near his golf course in Aberdeenshire. In a 2012 letter to Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond, Trump wrote, “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.”

Trump has gone to court numerous times in an attempt to stop construction of the offshore wind farm, claiming it would ruin the views from his course. He even escalated the matter to Britain’s highest court, which ruled unanimously against him last year.

In June, the Swedish company backing the project confirmed it intended to move forward, despite Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and Trump renewed his vow to fight it, calling the project an act of “public vandalism.”

Along with Farage (a far-right xenophobe and key figure in the Brexit movement who campaigned with Trump), the New York Times report named two other people present in the recent meeting: Arron Banks, an insurance executive and major financial backer of the Brexit campaign, and Andy Wigmore, a media consultant who ran communications for Leave.EU, one of the two groups that led the Brexit push.

Wigmore told the Times in an email that he and Banks would be “campaigning against wind farms in England, Scotland, and Wales.” While he claimed Banks had opposed wind farms in the past and the two had been looking into the issue, Wigmore said Trump “did suggest that we should campaign on it” and “spurred us in and we will be going for it.”

Trump has made no secret of his long-standing disdain for renewable energy, and wind turbines in particular. His October appearance on Herman Cain’s radio show included a tirade against wind power, which Trump claimed “kills all the birds.” He has also tweeted dozens of times about wind turbines, primarily how ugly he finds them.

The meeting with Farage and others is not the only reported instance of Trump appearing to use his newfound stature to benefit his business empire, rather than separating himself from his personal wealth as previous presidents have done.

The Trump transition released a photo of his daughter Ivanka, who is expected to be named acting CEO of Trump’s companies, sitting in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. She also reportedly joined a recent call with Argentine President Mauricio Macri. The Washington Post reported that Trump’s new D.C. hotel is looking to benefitfrom the rush of foreign diplomats eager to gain access to the president-elect, hosting nearly 100 of them at a reception last week (a possible violation of the Constitution). Since winning the election, the New York Times reported that Trump also met with Indian developers who helped him gain access to the market in India and are eager to expand that relationship.

According to Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the president-elect, people should worry less about these conflicts of interest, however, and focus more on the “sacrifice” he’s making.

  

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  • Kenshō

    Uh oh. Reverting to previous business contacts rather than discerning what is going on in the bigger picture. Moving into action far too soon without making an adequate assessment. The conflicts of interest look like an extremely bad omen. This is failure to gain detachment on self interest. Indicates a challenge putting America first.

    • Alastair Leith

      Trump’s term will be a kleptocracy to rival the days of the post-glastnost ex-KGB management acquiring most of state-owned Soviet business and property assets at firesale prices.

      • Kenshō

        According to contemporary models of psychology like developmental psychology and models like humanism, it isn’t completely accurate to transpose happenings from one period of history to another, even though it may sometimes appear characters and situations are similar. Most theorists have moved away from what’s called deterministic evolution to emergent evolution, which means humanity is evolving new faculties of awareness, individually and en masse.

        • Alastair Leith

          try not to read to deeply into throw away comments, Kenshō! there was no transposition just a scale-of-unenlightened-self-interest comparison. USA today is obviously a very different place to post-soviet russia. That i even needed to say that, Lol.

          well aware of emergent characteristics of complex systems, too. never *was* a determinist either.

          • Kenshō

            Hanson, Trump, Brexit are a growing recognition throughout all of systemic challenges effecting venture capital and global markets to miners, factory workers and farmers. It’s called a collective archetypal gestalt, or in plain words, a big pervassively emerging pattern in the foreground of collective awareness – with associated physical, emotional and psychological import.

  • Chris Fraser

    Perhaps Trump is worried that offshore wind in Scotland will kill flying fish … ?

  • Peter Campbell

    The wind farm could absorb some of the energy of the wind making it more pleasant to play golf on the windy shore in Scotland?

  • PhilH

    It’s heart-warming to see Donald Trump’s repeated statements of his concern for avian welfare. Given that flying into buildings, especially their large glass areas, is one of the top ten causes of bird mortality, far in excess of wind turbines, it would surely improve his public image if he would publicise the measures which he specifies for his buildings to minimise such casualties.

    • Alastair Leith

      “Trump Takes Down His Towers!”

  • jec

    This Farage guy seems to have completely sold out. He claimed to look after the interest of the British workers, but now he is looking after the personal business interests of Donald Trump. Britain has no coal mines left, they all closed or are closing because deep coal mines are too expensive. Because it has no mines, Britain has no interest in supporting the coal industry, and keep coal prices up. But Farage has now become Trumps obediant puddel and looks after his and the coal industry’s interests!

  • Dave_Coull

    Nigel Farage is extremely unpopular in Scotland, where he is seen as an English Nationalist, and where the party he leads doesn’t even have one single Member of the Scottish Parliament. Yet President-Elect Trump is urging these extremely unpopular English Nationalists to head up to Scotland to protest on behalf of his business interests. Is he trying to start a war between England and Scotland? The guy has absolutely no idea how to behave like a president, does he?