Donald Trump is more likely to win the White House because of the “nonsense” charges filed against him in the past five months, his son Eric has said.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, Mr. Trump Jnr, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said that the more times his father is indicted, the stronger he becomes politically and financially.
The former US president faces 91 charges across four trials, ranging from the willful retention of national defense information to conspiracy to defraud the United States. He has denied them all.
Despite his legal woes, he has increased his lead over Ron DeSantis, his closest Republican rival, to 44 points and has raised nearly $10 million since his Georgia mugshot was released on August 24.
Americans are “sick and tired of the weaponization of politics” and are “infuriated” by how Mr. Trump Snr is being treated, his son claimed.
In a wide-ranging interview at his golf course near Aberdeen, he also took aim at Nicola Sturgeon, praised the Middle East’s attitude toward foreign investment and made the case for the PGA to allow Trump property to host the Scottish Open.
The clubhouse of Trump International Scotland sits at the end of a long driveway, with views over 40ft sand dunes to the North Sea. Last weekend, the club hosted the PGA Seniors Championship.
The presence of the 45th US president is inescapable. His picture hangs behind the bar in the clubhouse, and a pair of golf shoes signed by him are on display in a glass cabinet, available to buy for £1,250. There are Make America Great Again caps too.
Last week, Mr. Trump Snr was arrested in Georgia, accused of attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and his mugshot was taken. It was the fourth time he had been indicted in five months.
“What has happened in the last five months will make him president of the United States again,” said Mr. Trump Jnr in his first public comments since the Georgia arrest. “The nonsense that he’s faced over the last five months is transparent to every single American and will win him the White House in 2024.”
The 39-year-old hit out at the system that has allowed Democrat district attorneys to prosecute the Republican former president.
“Our country is sick and tired of the weaponization of politics. They are not fooling anybody. Americans are infuriated,” he said. “The more times they indict, the stronger he becomes, politically and financially for the campaign. It raises him a tremendous amount of money.”
The Trump campaign has seized on the mugshot to drive fundraising and galvanize supporters. T-shirts, bumper stickers and mugs have been emblazoned with the photograph, along with the tagline “never surrender”. Previous fundraising rounds after indictments had not yielded as much.
However, Mr. Trump Snr, who chose to skip the first Republican debate in favor of a sit-down interview with Tucker Carlson, faces a daunting campaign schedule next year, crossing the country and switching between courthouses and rally stages.
He may yet visit the UK before next year’s election, according to his son, who said: “He loves the UK. He’s going to be awfully busy, but he loves it here.”
Mr. Trump Snr bought the land on the Menie Estate in 2006 and, after spending £150 million on planning and construction, it opened in 2012. Two years later, he purchased the fabled Turnberry golf club, which has hosted four British Open championships, for £50 million. He has spent another £150 million redeveloping the course.
But he has clashed with the Scottish Government, and Mr Trump Jnr said: “We dealt with Nicola Sturgeon for a long time. If she’d have had her way, she’d have just forced all business out of this country. We fought the battles for so many years.
“Despite the nonsense, we keep on investing in the game of golf over here. Shouldn’t a company get some level of praise? It costs a lot of money to put on these tournaments. We spend a lot of money. We’re going to put another $15 million into a second course in Aberdeen. Does that commitment to the game ever get appreciated?
“I think the people, the Aberdonians, are generally appreciative of everything we’ve done. They know we’ve done a great job with it, but I’m kind of shocked that somebody from the Government hasn’t called us and said: ‘You’ve done a remarkable job.’
“The amount of money we’ve invested here, wouldn’t you want to encourage further investment? It’s such closed-minded thinking.”
Beyond Scotland, the Trump Organization is involved in a multi-billion dollar real estate project in Oman. It was brought into the deal by Dar Al Arkan, a Saudi real estate firm closely intertwined with the Saudi government.
The development, which includes a Trump-branded hotel, golf course and luxury villas, has raised ethical questions, but Mr. Trump Jnr said: “I think this is why the Middle East has been so successful. If they have somebody that shows interest, they want to help, they’re excited. They want to help you get your goals accomplished.
“It is the exact opposite here [in Scotland]. If you show interest, if you show excitement, they try and hinder your ability to do it.”
The Trump Organization has been buoyed by the potential merger between the PGA and Saudi-backed LIV Golf, with hopes that the Trump International links course near Aberdeen could host the Scottish Open, while their course in Doonbeg, Ireland may be in line for a LIV event as early as next year.
Just days after the Jan 6 riot at the US Capitol, the PGA pulled its 2022 PGA Championship event from Trump’s Bedminster course and has not handed the Trump Organization a main tour event since then.
However, the PGA Seniors Championship at the links course near Aberdeen, won by Peter Baker, was seen as a step in the right direction.
“This tournament has shown one of the best golf courses in the world and impeccable hospitality,” said Mr. Trump Jnr. “But second of all, you’re not exactly seeing people holding picket signs. In fact, it’s completely the opposite – it has been the most relaxing, fun weekend of all.
“Politics hasn’t come into the equation. We are a golf company. There has been no disturbance, no nonsense, no problems and the whole tournament has been flawless. Hopefully they’re able to zoom out and see that.
“Often, people make it about politics because of who we are. There is this fear that the tournament is overshadowed by the person who was the 45th president of the United States, and I think that’s wrong.”