Washington: President Donald Trump will host the 2020 G-7 summit of world leaders at the Trump National Doral Miami, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday at a raucous briefing, fending off questions about presidential self-dealing.
“It was almost like they built this facility” to host the G-7, Mulvaney said at the White House briefing, echoing comments he said came from another official whom he did not name.
The Doral has seen its revenue plunge in the past several years as Trump has been in office. The Washington Post reported in May that from 2015 to 2017, revenue at Doral dropped 18%, from $92 million to $75 million, and that net operating income fell from $13.8 million to $4.3 million during the same time period.
Mulvaney insisted the president will not profit from the G-7 being held there, saying the resort will host the event “at cost” to the attendees.
Despite that explanation, the decision immediately inflamed critics of the president, who have cast the move as the pinnacle of government corruption in the Trump era.
Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics who is often critical of Trump, said in a Twitter poster that it was “the most overt corruption to date.”
Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a good government group, called the move “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,” Bookbinder said.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, said the selection of the Doral is a potential violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which bar a president from receiving gifts from foreign nations.
Nadler called the selection in a prepared statement “among the most brazen examples yet of the President’s corruption.”
“He is exploiting his office and making official U.S. government decisions for his personal financial gain,” Nadler said. “The Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution exist to prevent exactly this kind of corruption. The Committee will continue investigating, litigating and legislating regarding these matters—including pressing for answers to our prior requests about the G7 selection process.”