US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the next G-7 summit will not be at one of his own Florida golf clubs, after a public outcry over an act widely perceived as blatantly corrupt.
Taking to Twitter, Trump wrote, “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”.
….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. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019
We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”, he further posted.
Early on Thursday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had announced the venue for the summit that caused a firestorm among Trump’s Democratic opponents in Congress who called the move “among the most brazen examples yet of the president’s corruption.
At a raucous briefing, Mulvaney had said that the south Florida venue was “the best place” among a dozen US locations considered for the June 10-12 gathering next year.
The announcement to choose the president’s own club as the site of an international summit comes as Trump is in the midst of twin crises that are consuming his presidency – a hasty and confused American retreat in Syria, and a growing impeachment inquiry in Congress.
Critics, including ethic campaigners, also backfired at Trump’s decision, saying, holding the event at Doral would violate both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses that are designed to shield a US leader from outside influence.
Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement after the announcement has been made, “He is exploiting his office and making official US government decisions for his personal financial gain”.
On Friday, Congressional Democrats introduced new legislation called “Trump’s Heist Undermines the G-7 (THUG) Act,” which would have cut off all federal funding for the move to Doral, and require the White House to turn over all relevant documents that show how administration officials decided on the venue.
The G-7 summit rotates among sites chosen by the seven-member countries and the European Union. The last time it was held in the US, in 2012, President Barack Obama held it at the government-owned retreat at Camp David in Maryland.
In 2004, President George W. Bush held it at the exclusive, isolated resort of Sea Island, Georgia.
Trump’s properties have hosted US government officials before, and the company said that it does not seek to make a profit off that business. But even so, Trump’s properties can be expensive, at his Mar-a-Lago Club, for instance, the government paid Trump’s company $546 per night for each staffer staying in the club’s guest rooms, and another $1,000 for a single night of drinking by White House aides at one of Mar-a-Lago’s bars.
The selection of Doral as the site of the G-7 seems to signal the collapse of promises made by Donald and Eric Trump at the start of the Trump presidency when they pledged to create separation between Trump’s private business and his new public office.