Mulvaney defends decision to host G-7 at Doral: Trump 'considers himself to be in the hospitality business'

White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Scaramucci thanks John Kelly for speaking up against Trump Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' MORE on Sunday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE was "honestly surprised at the level of pushback" about his decision to host the Group of Seven (G-7) summit at one of his resort properties, adding that Trump still "considers himself to be in the hospitality business."

The justification from Mulvaney came just a day after Trump reversed his decision to hold the the G-7 summit at Trump National Doral in Florida in light of outrage from Democrats, Republicans and ethics watchdog groups. 

"At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing it at Doral," Mulvaney said on on "Fox News Sunday."


Host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceConway: Reported sexist Bloomberg remarks 'far worse' than what Trump said on 'Access Hollywood' tape Candidates make electability arguments, talk Bloomberg as focus turns to more diverse states Buttigieg: Electability argument will sway voters of color because 'we dare not get this wrong' MORE immediately pushed back, saying bluntly, "You say he considers himself in the hospitality business. He's the president of the United States."

"But that’s his background," Mulvaney replied. "I used to be in the real estate business. I don’t know what you used to do before you were in the media."

"He wanted to put on a show," Mulvaney added. "He’s in the hotel business." 

Asked by Wallace if Trump understood that the optics looked "lousy," Mulvaney insisted the administration could have put on an "excellent" G-7 at Trump's Miami-area resort. 


Mulvaney sparked widespread alarm last week when he announced that the 2020 G-7 summit would convene at one of Trump's properties, with many arguing that the move violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The clause bars federal officeholders from from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Mass.), a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, called it an example of "corruption, plain and simple." Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' Ocasio-Cortez blasts Trump as 'corrupt' for blocking Global Entry for New Yorkers MORE (R-Alaska) also said that it was inappropriate for Trump to hold an event convening world leaders at one of his properties. 

In the wake of the criticism, Trump announced late Saturday that he would no longer consider his Doral resort as a viable option for the event. 

"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." 

In announcing the decision last week, Mulvaney asserted that Trump would receive no profit from the gathering. He also pushed back against the appearance of a conflict of interest, stating that the site was chosen after a careful search throughout the U.S. 

He echoed those arguments on Sunday, adding that the administration would put on a formidable G-7 summit somewhere else.