Trump caves on hosting next G-7 summit at Doral after widespread criticism

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Trump wanted to force world leaders to stay at his Miami resort, from which he still benefits financially.

Donald Trump on Saturday was forced to walk back an earlier announcement that the 2020 G-7 summit would be held at his Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida.

The White House had first announced the summit venue just 48 hours earlier.

At a press conference last Thursday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney officially told reporters that Doral would host the G-7.

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Trump did not divest from his businesses upon becoming president and thus benefits from any profits they bring in. Both Republicans and Democrats alike immediately suggested the Doral announcement was further proof of the president enriching himself by using his office to force foreign governments to patronize that business, a violation of the Emoluments Clause.

Within two days of Mulvaney's announcement, the Doral deal was officially dead, in large part thanks to pushback from those Republicans who were reportedly sick of having to support every one of Trump's brazen ideas.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said standing by the Doral choice "would be a distraction," and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said the pick was "an unforced political error," adding, "We just didn't need this." And as Trump gears up for an impeachment fight, he needs all the GOP support he can get.

Trump was incensed.

"I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives," he tweeted Saturday.

Trump then claimed he had been "willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA" but reversed course after "the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!"

"Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020," he concluded. "We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!"

Trump also insisted that the event would be billed "at cost" but did not explain how that might be calculated. The White House, according to the Washington Post, referred questions about that claim to the State Department, which has not issued a statement on the matter.

Trump's track record on what "at cost" might look like isn't great. When White House staffers drank at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, the resort charged the government $18.62 for each drink the staffers had, which works out to roughly triple what "at cost" should be. And when Trump stayed at his Doonbeg resort in Ireland earlier this year, the gardai — the Irish state police — had to pay over $15,000 for sandwich and snack bags as part of a much larger catering payment to the resort.

Even after the Doral deal was shelved, Mulvaney went on "Fox News Sunday" to try and justify the decision.

"At the end of the day, [Trump] still considers himself to be in the hospitality business and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing that at Doral," he said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.