The White House has selected Trump National Doral Miami as the site of next year’s G7 summit despite criticism from Democrats and others that President Donald Trump owns the resort.
The summit will be held June 10-12. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said there were about 12 candidate sites. Democrats and others have said holding any major summit at a Trump property could violate the emoluments clause in the Constitution, which bars presidents from receiving compensation from foreign governments.
“He has no interest from profit from being here,” Mulvaney said, referring to the president. “He will not be profiting here.”
Asked how the event will not be a major marketing opportunity for Trump, his top aide said the president is among the most famous people in the world and does not need any help in that regard.
The nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called the decision “unbelievable.”
“Given the potential consequences the president is facing for abusing the presidency for his own gain, we would have thought he would steer clear of blatant corruption at least temporarily; instead he has doubled down on it. The president is now officially using the power of his office to help prop up his struggling golf business,” the group said in a statement.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the president, some attempting to get access to Trump’s financial records to ascertain whether he has accepted payments or gifts from foreign governments. The emoluments clause of the Constitution bars a president from accepting payments from governments.
California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna called hosting the summit at the resort a “clear conflict of interest,” saying that if the president truly did not want to profit he would host the event for free “without charging American taxpayers.”
Rep. Judy Chu, another California Democrat, called it “corruption out in the open.”
Mulvaney also said this was at the suggestion of Donald Trump himself. He is using the presidency to enrich himself, at the expense of American taxpayers. This is corruption out in the open. https://t.co/FYU3opLA2C— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) October 17, 2019
Trump has criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for pressing Ukraine to fight corruption and oust a prosecutor at the same time his son Hunter Biden served on the board of an Ukrainian energy firm.
Mulvaney brushed aside a question about how the two cases are unrelated, saying Hunter Biden was paid handsomely as a board member of that firm but Trump “is not making any money off of this.”
“The Trump family made their money before they went into politics,” he said. “That’s a big difference.”
It was the president who first floated the idea of holding the G7 at his own resort, Mulvaney said. That came during an evening meeting with White House travel advance planning staff to brainstorm possible locations.
“How about Doral?” Trump asked then, according to Mulvaney.
“That’s not the craziest idea I’ve ever heard, let’s go look at it,” the former South Carolina GOP congressman said he replied.
The June summit will focus on the global economy and growing it, rolling back regulations; opening markets, and removing trade barriers, Mulvaney said. Climate change, however, will not be on the official agenda.
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.