Friday 23 February 2018

Trump 'invited members of golf club to help pick his Cabinet'

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a rally in Melbourne, Florida, after travelling on Air Force One. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a rally in Melbourne, Florida, after travelling on Air Force One. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ben Kentish

Donald Trump invited wealthy members of one of his golf clubs to help interview candidates for posts in his administration, leaked audio recordings have revealed.

The Republican was taped telling guests to "come round" and help interview potential "generals and dictators", claiming it would be "fun". Audio recordings from a party hosted by Mr Trump at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in November - just two weeks after his election win - reveal comments he made to members.

"We're doing a lot of interviews tomorrow - generals, dictators, we have everything," Mr Trump can be heard saying in the recording, which was leaked to the Politico media group.

"You may wanna come around. It'll be fun. We're really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government. We're going to be interviewing everybody - Treasury, we're going to be interviewing Secretary of State. We have everybody coming in - if you want to come around, it's going to be unbelievable... so you might want to come along."

Mr Trump can also be heard declaring the members of his golf club to be his true friends, referring to them as "the special people". "So, this is my real group," he said. "These are the people that came here in the beginning, when nobody knew what this monster was gonna turn out to be, right? I see all of you. I recognise, like 100pc of you, just about. You are the special people."

In the tape from the party, held on November 18, the president-elect can be heard asking one golf club member for advice on who he should appoint to lead the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). "We were just talking about who we [are] going to pick for the FCC, who [are] we going to pick for this, who we gonna accept - boy, can you give me some recommendations?"

Actor Susan Sarandon takes part in an ‘I am Muslim Too’ rally in Times Square in New York, a protest against the immigration policy of Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
Actor Susan Sarandon takes part in an ‘I am Muslim Too’ rally in Times Square in New York, a protest against the immigration policy of Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

The US president is said by friends to be most comfortable when passing time at the clubs he owns.

He spent his third consecutive weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Concerns have repeatedly been raised about the access guests at Mr Trump's clubs are given to the president.

Mr Trump has promoted several of his golf club employees to positions in his administration. Dan Scavino, his director of social media, was a caddy at one of his New York clubs and was later promoted to manage it. The US president also invited his Bedminster club manager, David Schutzenhofer, to help him decorate the White House.

In the recording, Mr Trump can be heard saying of Mr Schutzenhofer: "He's going into the Oval Office, right? And you are going to make it beautiful."

Mr Trump kisses wife Melania after his speech. Photo: AP
Mr Trump kisses wife Melania after his speech. Photo: AP

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the audio recording "tries to create a narrative that just isn't true by taking snippets of conversations and events out of context".

Mr Trump was not inviting guests to help with selection interviews but simply "giving a description of what is happening and explaining the nature of the disruptions at the club and reassuring the members", she added.

Meanwhile, the Swedish embassy in Washington has asked the US state department for an explanation of a comment made by Mr Trump that suggested there had been some sort of security incident in Sweden on Friday.

The American president was speaking at a political rally in Florida on Saturday when, in connection with the mention of a need to keep the United States safe, he said: "You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden.

"They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."

Mr Trump did not elaborate further on the Swedish reference, leaving many people baffled because there had been no terror attacks recently in the country. (© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News