Days after announcing Trump National Doral in Florida would host the 2020 G7 summit, President Donald Trump backtracked and announced he would be looking for another host for the meeting.
On Thursday, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told the press -- among other things -- the Trump-owned property won a competition among 12 resorts and sites to host the meeting. The nations in the group of the seven largest economies in the world rotate hosting duties, and the United States takes over from France in 2020.
Mulvaney told the press Trump National Doral, which Trump purchased in 2009 in a bankruptcy sale, was considered at the President's behest.
By the time Sunday rolled around, Trump apparently reconsidered.
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...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019
"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. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!"
The announcement drew bipartisan criticism, particularly from Democrats who said the move was illegal and a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars federal officials from receiving anything of value from a foreign government.
In addition, the self-dealing nature of the plan was panned. The Washington Post reported Trump National Doral lost 69 percent of its net operating profit in just a single year of Trump's presidency, and the report noted the South Florida property is typically at below 40 percent occupancy in June, when the meeting is to be held.
Effectively, Trump would be propping up his own business with the enormous Congressionally allocated budget for the meeting and accepting millions from the other member nations.
Even if, as Trump tweeted, he would host the meeting without turning a profit, Trump would be using the meeting to receive millions in free advertising for his property -- as he does when he goes to his golf clubs with the press pool.