The Trump Files: Guess Who Gave Donald His Big Awards

Ivylise Simones

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Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Donald Trump frequently boasts of his hotels and golf resorts, and it’s true that they have won awards. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has given Trump at least 19 Diamond awards, which it calls “the most prestigious emblem of achievement and true quality in the world today,” for his various properties, according to journalist David Cay Johnston in his book The Making of Donald Trump. It also gave his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, a prize as “the best golf course worldwide.”

All of which sounds impressive. Except that the board of the Academy consisted mostly of Trump’s employees, friends, and family members.

“A majority of the trustees bestowing these awards on Trump and his properties were Trump’s employees, friends, or retainers,” Johnston writes. Two of his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, served on the board of trustees, according to the Associated Press. Trump’s former butler of 17 years, the subject of a Mother Jones story earlier this year for calling on Facebook for President Barack Obama to be “hung for treason,” was also a trustee. Trump himself served on the board and was listed as the Academy’s “ambassador extraordinaire.”

The president of the Academy, Joseph Cinque (a.k.a. Joey No Socks), is a convicted felon with alleged ties to organized crime.

In May, Trump denied having any connection to the organization in an interview with Yahoo News, saying, “I mean, I receive awards from different places sometimes, but I’m not involved in it. How am I involved in it?”

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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