Trump's Doral resort to host G-7 summit next year
The United States will host the 2020 Group of Seven (G-7) summit at Trump National Doral, a resort property near Miami owned by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE's family.
The summit will take place June 10-12, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump taps Brooke Rollins as acting domestic policy chief Navarro fuels tariff speculation: 'Bill has come due' for China Top Trump policy adviser Joe Grogan to leave post MORE told reporters Thursday at the White House. The decision is certain to spark challenges from Democrats and ethics watchdog groups who will argue that the president is seeking to enrich his family's brand by bringing world leaders to a Trump property.
"We thought of the 12 places that we looked at... this was by far and away the best choice," Mulvaney said.
He added that White House staff looked at a dozen potential host sites. The list was eventually narrowed to two options in Utah, one in Hawaii and one in Florida, Mulvaney said.
Trump was the one who suggested the Doral property be added to the list of sites under consideration, said Mulvaney, who cited the resort's proximity to airports, landing zones, hospitals.
Trump first signaled in the closing days of this year's G-7 summit in France that his Doral resort was the front-runner to host next year's gathering of world leaders. He boasted during his press conference in Biarritz about the property's accommodations and proximity to Miami.
"I think it’s just a great place to be. I think having it in Miami is fantastic. Really fantastic," he said at the time. "Having it at that particular place, because of the way it’s set up, each country can have their own villa, or their own bungalow. And the bungalows, when I say, they have a lot of units in them. So I think it just works out well."
The White House appeared to give away the selection in a tweet following Trump's press conference when it shared a clip of the president bragging about the property with the caption, "President @realDonaldTrump shares the location of the next @G7 summit, hosted by the United States!"
Critics argued earlier this year that the selection would be a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits presidents from accepting payments from foreign countries, U.S. states or the federal government.
Mulvaney rejected those arguments on Thursday, insisting that Trump would not profit from the gathering. He asserted that it would be “dramatically cheaper” to host the event at Doral because the facility had agreed to host the G-7 at cost.
"I get the criticisms. So does [Trump]… but no, there’s no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape or form," Mulvaney said. "If you think it's going to help his brand, that's great, but I would suggest that he doesn't need much help promoting his brand."
A Democratic aide with the House Appropriations Committee noted after the announcement that the House passed two bills this year with provisions that would prevent the president from spending federal funds at his family properties. The Senate has not approved the measures.
Democrats and watchdog groups have repeatedly raised alarms about Trump's frequent use of his properties during his presidency. He regularly visits his golf club in Virginia during the summer and stays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in the winter.
Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceGrenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts Trump considering attending rocket launch in Florida Flynn's name was never 'masked' on key intelligence document: report MORE also sparked controversy when he opted to stay at a Trump property in Doonbeg, Ireland, rather than in Dublin, where he was meeting with Irish officials.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-leaning watchdog group, said in a statement Thursday afternoon that there is "no question that the American government is being used as a public relations and marketing subsidiary of the Trump Organization."
The Doral announcement comes as Trump and his allies have in recent weeks hammered Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE over allegations that he had a conflict of interest when he was vice president and his son served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. The president and his sons have been among those who have claimed Hunter Biden profited off his father's name.
Mulvaney on Thursday dismissed the comparison between the Bidens and the use of a Trump family property for a government event, again asserting that there would be "no profit" involved with the G-7.
The summit itself and its eventual schedule are likely to draw significant interest in the coming months.
Trump has in each of the last two years advocated for re-admitting Russia to the cohort of world powers. Russia was booted from the then-G-8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea.
As host, Trump could invite any world leaders he deems worthy of including.
The agenda may largely be shaped by world events at the time, but Mulvaney ruled out one significant item at Thursday's briefing.
“Climate change will not be on the agenda," he said.
The topic has been a focal point at recent G-7 gatherings, though Trump has been absent from climate related sessions in each of the past two years.
The United States last hosted the then-Group of Eight summit in 2012 at Camp David in Maryland.
Niv Elis contributed.
Updated at 2:57 p.m.