Trump's Miami Golf Course To Host G-7 Summit
Next year's G-7 gathering of the leaders of the world's biggest economies will take place at a President Trump's Doral golf resort outside of Miami, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday.
"We used a lot of the same criteria used by past administrations," Mulvaney said. He later said it was almost as though the resort had been purpose-built for the event.
The Trump administration's decision to host the high-profile international summit at Doral is sure to stoke the ongoing controversy about Trump's decision to maintain his ownership of his businesses while also serving as president.
"We know the environment we live in," Mulvaney said, adding that Trump was willing to take the scrutiny.
Mulvaney noted that Doral was Trump's suggestion that staff followed up on. He said "no" when asked if it was better to avoid the appearance of self-dealing, pointing repeatedly to potential cost-savings. He said he would not share documents on the decision-making process.
Trump made his interest in holding the summit at Doral known in August, while attending this year's gathering in Biarritz, France.
"We haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it," Trump told reporters. He mentioned the resort's proximity to Miami International Airport, abundant parking and private cabanas to host each country's delegation. "It's got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens."
According to Trump's financial disclosures, he earned $76 million in income from Doral in 2018. But in a sign of how the Trump brand has struggled since he became a political figure, that's a substantial drop from the nearly $116 million the resort earned for him in 2016.
While Trump stepped away from running the Trump Organization before becoming president, he never gave up his stake in his various businesses, which include golf clubs, hotels and office buildings around the world.
There are several lawsuits moving through the courts that allege that Trump is violating the emoluments clauses of the Constitution that bans the president from accepting gifts and payments from foreign and state governments.
Since Trump secured the GOP nomination in 2016, his properties have become favored places for Republicans to hold fundraising and political events. Federal Election Commission records indicate that Trump's reelection campaign, GOP party committees and candidates have spent millions at Trump properties in 2019.
Mulvaney said on Thursday that he himself was initially skeptical of the idea, but said the event would be "dramatically cheaper" if held at Doral. He said Trump had "made it very clear" that he would not profit from having the resort host.
Trump's international properties have also come under scrutiny. This summer, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged that hundreds of service members had stayed at Trump's Scottish resort during refueling stops there. Vice President Pence also came under scrutiny for staying at Trump's Irish golf resort during an official visit to Ireland.