WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will host world leaders at a G-7 economic summit next year at his Doral golf resort in Miami, the White House said Thursday, despite condemnation from lawmakers and the president’s critics who said he is using public duties for personal gain.
“I was skeptical,” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged in making the announcement. “Which is why I was so surprised when the advance team called back” to say that the Doral facility was the best option for the event.
“It’s not the only place,” Mulvaney said. “It’s the best place.”
Trump signaled his plans for Doral while attending the most recent G-7 summit two months ago in France, calling his club in Miami a “great place.”
Mulvaney said the G-7 would take place June 10-12.
“It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens,” Trump said during an Aug. 26 meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It has buildings that have 50 to 70 units in them, so each delegation can have its own building.”
Trump also said “they” like Doral because “it’s right next to the airport, for convenience. And it’s Miami. Doral. Miami. So it’s a great area.”
The G-7 is a high profile, yearly gathering of leaders from the world largest industrialized economies: the U.S., Italy, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. The most recent took place in August in the resort town of Biarritz southwest France.
Last month, House Democrats said they would investigate Trump’s plans to host the G-7 at Doral.
A view leading into the Trump National Doral golf club in Miami.MICHELE EVE SANDBERG, AFP/Getty Images
Trump’s “personal financial interests are clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities” said a joint statement from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., chairman of the subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The move comes as the Trump campaign has been arguing that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, profited off of Biden’s role as vice president by serving on the board of a Ukrainian company. At the time, Biden was the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine.
‘They love the location’: Trump says his Florida golf resort may host next year’s G-7 summit
The Doral plan violates the Constitutional prohibition of emoluments, the lawmakers said, calling it “perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to pay President Trump’s private businesses in order to conduct business with the United States.”
The G-7 is a group of industrialized nations that hold meetings to discuss joint responses to trends in the global economy. Created during the oil crises of the 1970s, the G-7 held its first summit near Paris in 1975. (The group has also been known as the G-8, when Russia was a temporary member.)
Members of the G-7 rotate hosting duties. The last two times the United States has hosted, it has been in presidential election years.
In 2012, President Barack Obama originally planned to have the summit in his hometown of Chicago, but later switched the venue to Camp David. In 2004, President George W. Bush hosted the event at Sea Island, Ga.
Trump’s stewardship of Doral has its critics. Membership fees at Doral are reportedly as high as $50,000, and some ex-members say they have been waiting for years for refunds of their deposits.
In defending Doral as a G-7 site, Trump disputed a media report that the resort has had bedbug problems, and blamed Democrats for spreading false stories.
“No bedbugs at Doral,” Trump said in an Aug. 27 tweet. “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!”