Palm Beach County looks to end Trump golf course lease after U.S. Capitol riot

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U.S. President Donald Trump plays golf at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 30, 2020.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Palm Beach County in Florida this week began seeking a way to terminate a contract with President Donald Trump’s prized International Golf Club.

The county attorney’s office confirmed to NBC News on Friday that an official asked if Palm Beach has ways to cancel its lease with the president’s beloved, West Palm Beach course.

The Palm Beach Post, which first reported that the county was examining the lease, added that Trump pays $88,338 per month in rent for the property.

Trump frequents his titular International Golf Club, located in unincorporated West Palm Beach and owned by the county, during his visits to Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate. The president has been known to host parties at the club; noted guests to the course in prior years have included Kid Rock and Tiger Woods.

Howard Falcon, chief assistant county attorney, told the Post that he does not believe the county has the legal standing to abruptly end the lease, saying his “initial reaction is it would be a stretch.”

A lawyer for Trump’s golf course added to the Post that he had spoken with Falcon and concluded that there is “no basis for canceling the lease.”

The county’s move to explore cutting ties to Trump came about one week after hundreds of violent rioters stormed Capitol Hill, leading to the deaths of at least five people including a police officer.

The unprecedented attack on the Capitol has led to national and bipartisan pushback from politicians across the political spectrum. The House of Representatives made history this week when it voted to impeach Trump for a second time for his role in inciting or otherwise encouraging the riot.

Though the impeachment proceedings angered the president, Trump is reportedly more upset about the fallout the riot has had on his business reputation and standing in the world of golf.

Multiple news outlets reported earlier this week that Trump was apoplectic after the PGA of America voted Sunday to take the Championship away from his New Jersey golf course next year.

“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, told the Associated Press. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable.”

One New York Times reporter wrote on Monday that, compared to his reaction over the impeachment proceedings before him, Trump’s reaction to the PGA decision “was [a] different order of magnitude.”

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