President Donald Trump has backed down on plans to host next year’s Group of Seven (G7) meeting at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida.
Plans to hold the June 2020 meeting between the U.S. and some of its most powerful allies at the luxury resort were announced on Oct. 17 by Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. The announcement has been roundly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans. Some voiced concerns that the summit would raise the profile of the resort and benefit Trump financially during Florida’s summer off-season, and at a time when the facility is beset with financial difficulties, according to financial documents viewed by the Washington Post.
In a series of tweets on Saturday night, Trump announced that he had decided to move the meeting even though he felt the resort would be a “very good” location.
“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,” Trump wrote. “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!”
He said that other locations, including Camp David, will be considered as venues.
The announcement comes as Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry and numerous other accusations of impropriety, including two lawsuits accusing him of violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which forbids office holders from benefiting from foreign gifts. Trump has denied using his time in office to benefit financially.
Mulvaney said on Fox News on Sunday that the President had “wanted to put on the absolute best show” for the visiting dignitaries, and that both Trump and Mulvaney had been surprised by the reaction.
“The President isn’t one for holding back his feelings and his emotions about something. He was honestly surprised about the level of pushback. At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney said on Oct. 17 that he understood that the decision to host the G7 at the Trump National Doral Miami was facing criticism, but that the resort had been determined to have the best conditions for the summit.
“Listen, I was skeptical. I was,” Mulvaney said. “I was aware of the political, sort of, criticism that we’d come under for doing it at Doral, which is why I was so surprised when the advance team called back and said that this is the perfect physical location to do this.”
Others were not so convinced.
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) said to reporters on Friday, “I think that would be better if he would not use his hotel for this kind of stuff,” noting that it’s in the law to “avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had announced that the committee would investigate the decision to host the meeting at the resort and whether Trump had used his time in the White House for financial gain.
“The Doral decision reflects 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,” Nadler said in an August statement after Trump first floated the idea.