There’s a word in the English language, which escapes me at the moment, to describe that feeling you get when you’re watching TV and you realize you know more about the subject being discussed than the people doing the discussing.
I got that feeling last night watching the Rachel Maddow Show. Her lead story was a “breaking news” report hot off the presses of the New York Times, whose reporters had learned that President Donald J. Trump had asked his British ambassador to ask the British government to ask the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews to award the British Open golf tournament to the Trump-owned Turnberry Resort.
Got all that? Rachel and her guests from the Times thought this qualified for immediate impeachment under the Emoluments Clause. I couldn’t stop laughing.
OK, those of us who know about golf (of which obviously neither Rachel Maddow nor the NY Times reporters have the first clue) understand a few things.
- Turnberry has hosted the Open Championship several times already (last time in 2009 when Stewart Cink lucked out against the rapidly fading 59-year-old Tom Watson) and will host the tournament again, some time in the future.
- Trump knows that the Open Championship is staged and controlled by the R&A. The British government and even the Queen her ownself has nothing to do with it.
- Even if the R&A got a call from Boris Johnson telling them that the President of the USA wished them to move Turnberry up in the rota, we all know that the reaction would be gales of laughter. Nobody tells the R&A what to do, especially about the Open.
- The head of the R&A was asked, when Trump purchased the Turnberry Resort in 2014, if the course would still be included on the Open rota (there are eight or so courses in the British Isles that regularly host the Open Championship; Turnberry has been one of them since the 1970s) now that Trump owned the joint. Of course, he said, adding that there might be some factors that determined exactly when that would be. He went on to say that political considerations–like Trump getting elected the 45th President of the United States–might be one of the factors that went into the decision.
- The Open is already scheduled for the next four years. Royal St. George’s next year (postponed from this year); the Old Course in 2022, Royal Liverpool in 2023 and Troon in 2024. Chance of any of those venues being replaced…0%.
So, assuming Trump is re-elected in November (my guess: easily), he will be out of office before the tournament returns to Turnberry. Is the Emoluments Clause forward-looking? Can we impeach him for something that happens after he leaves office? Yeah, I’m guessing no.
The New York Times is a disgrace to journalism and Rachel Maddow is as stupid as a sack of golf tees.