When Donald Trump met with British politician Nigel Farage last week, the President-elect allegedly urged Farage to oppose the construction of offshore wind farms throughout the United Kingdom, like the one near his golf course on Scotland's east coast that Trump has unsuccessfully challenged in court, reports The New York Times.
The report raises questions about whether Trump might use his political power to advance the business interests of his vast real estate empire, which could create unprecedented conflicts of interest in the Oval Office.
Trump lost the battle to stop the building of the wind farm off the coast of his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire in December 2015. The Trump Organization contended that the proposed project would ruin the views from the coastal property, but the developers behind the project, which would power 68,000 homes, eventually won the case.
According to media consultant Andy Wigmore, who attended the meeting, the President-elect expressed his disdain for wind farms "spoiling the views," and encouraged them to campaign against wind farms throughout the country. After the meeting, Trump took to Twitter to advocate for Farage, who helped lead the Brexit movement, to be named as the U.K.'s ambassador to the United States.
Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Maggie Haberman, a political correspondent for The New York Times, reported that Trump addressed his meeting with Farage during a wide-ranging interview conducted at Times headquarters.
"I might have brought it up," Trump says of Farage meeting and wind farms.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
This incident represents the latest sign of Trump's reluctance to leave his business interests at the door when conducting the duties of his new office. Presidents in the past have divested from their business holdings for the duration of their term to avoid the dangers of mixing political power with personal gain, like Jimmy Carter, who put his peanut farm and warehouse into a trust outside his control while in office.
Yesterday, Trump dismissed concerns about his conflicts of interest as president via social media.
Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016