Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE on Saturday said he would no longer host next year's Group of Seven (G-7) summit at his Doral resort after intense backlash from Democrats, ethics watchdogs and some Republican lawmakers.

The reversal came two days after the White House announced that Trump National Doral near Miami would host the gathering of world leaders next June. The decision was widely panned by critics who viewed it as a brazen move for the president to enrich his family brand.

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Trump tweeted Sunday night, "Thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders," boasting of the property's proximity to major airports and its physical spaces.

"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!" Trump tweeted.

About 35 minutes later, Trump followed up with a tweet announcing the venue would be changed.

"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," Trump tweeted. "We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!"
 

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyKent, Taylor say they're not 'Never Trumpers' after Trump Twitter offensive GOP counsel acknowledges 'irregular channel' between U.S. and Ukraine The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE announced during a briefing on Thursday that Doral would host the G-7 summit next June. He said the Trump family property was chosen after White House teams scouted a dozen properties as potential sites.

Mulvaney downplayed questions about the appearance of a conflict of interest for the president, insisting that there would be no profit and that the resort was "far and away the best choice."

"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."

Trump was the one who encouraged Doral be considered, Mulvaney said, which further inflamed criticism.

The announcement immediately drew backlash. Critics viewed it as a blatant violation of the Emoluments Clause, which prevents elected officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments.

Democrats quickly sought details of the contract for Doral, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) pledged to add the use of the Trump property for the G-7 to an ongoing Emoluments Clause lawsuit against the president.

"This is corruption, plain and simple," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE (D-Mass.), a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"The Constitution is clear: the President cannot accept gifts or payments from foreign governments. No one is above the law," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Speaker Pelosi, it's time to throw American innovators a lifeline Why Americans must tune in to the Trump impeachment hearings MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted.

Even some Republicans expressed unease over the decision.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (R-Alaska) told reporters it was not appropriate for Trump to host the G-7 at his own property.

Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellEd Markey, John Rutherford among victors at charity pumpkin-carving contest Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash House Republicans voice concerns about White House's impeachment messaging MORE (R-Mich.), who is retiring at the end of his term, told The Washington Post he felt the decision "just further fans the flames that the Democrats have been ranting about.”

The Doral decision also exacerbated an already difficult week in the White House. Multiple current and former administration officials have cooperated with House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry into the president, and Republicans have come out in force to criticize Trump over his foreign policy in Syria.

Two of the most damaging revelations came during Mulvaney's Thursday presser: That Doral would host the G-7 and the admission that aid for Ukraine was tied to an investigation into Democrats involved in the 2016 election lead-up. Both have since been undercut or reversed over the course of 60 hours as the White House seeks to do damage control.

In another contradiction of Mulvaney, Trump floated Camp David as a potential new host site. The Maryland retreat hosted the last G-7 in the United States in 2012, though Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that he heard those involved in that event "thought it was a miserable place to have the G-7."

Mulvaney said the White House had considered a dozen sites, which included spots in California, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

The final four sites included Doral, two spots in Utah and one in Hawaii, according to Mulvaney.