/Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G7 summit

Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G7 summit

It was a rare about-face for Trump on his businesses. He has spent nearly three years in office insisting he is allowed to visit and promote his properties around the globe. But his decision to hold the G-7 at Doral brought him criticism from even pundits on Fox News, his favorite television network and a growing number of his own party — the same lawmakers he needs to help him fight impeachment.

“I’m not happy with it,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told CNN. “I don’t know if it’s a direct violation, but I don’t understand why at this moment they had to do that. I mean do it in D.C., do it in Miami at a different resort. Whatever it is.”

The House had planned to vote on a resolution to condemn Trump for holding the G-7 at the Doral resort and “rejecting his practice of accepting foreign government emoluments without obtaining Congress’ affirmative consent.”

And several Democrats had introduced a bill to stop Trump by prohibiting funding for the summit and requiring him to submit to Congress documents about the decision to host the summit at Doral.

“After demanding answers from the White House about the President’s decision to hold the G-7 at his Doral resort, I’m glad he’s reversed course,” tweeted Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who introduced a bill barring taxpayer dollars from going to properties owned by the president. “But it never should have come to this. No taxpayer $ should line the President’s pockets.”

Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened an impeachment inquiry that includes examining whether Trump is illegally making money off his presidency. The Oversight and Judiciary committees have demanded the administration and Trump’s company provide details about the president suggesting the summit be held at one of his resorts.

Trump has faced criticism outside the GOP for not fully separating himself from his eponymous company after he was sworn into office. The president still owns his business but has placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his benefit. He can receive money from the trust at any time without the public’s knowledge.

The emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government except his or her annual salary.

Trump has repeatedly denied that he is using the presidency to promote his resorts. “I have a lot of hotels all over the place, and people, they use them because they’re the best,” he told reporters last month.

“President Trump’s decision to award the G-7 Conference to his own property was outrageous, corrupt and a constitutional violation. It was stunningly corrupt even for a stunningly corrupt administration,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group. “His reversal of that decision is a bow to reality, but does not change how astonishing it was that a president ever thought this was appropriate, or that it was something he could get away with.”

The summit has been planned to take place next June 10-12, in the middle of his 2020 reelection campaign, just as Democrats pick a nominee to run against him. Trump said the search for another location will begin “immediately” and could include Camp David.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced Trump’s decision to hold the summit at Doral last Thursday in a news conference without providing details on which other sites were considered or how much it would put in the president’s pocket. He even dismissed Camp David as a suitable location.

Mulvaney said it was Trump himself who suggested to his staff that they consider holding the summit at Doral when they began considering sites. He said Trump would put on the event at cost and would not personally profit.

Trump previously mentioned Doral as a potential location for the annual summit during the most recent G-7 meeting in August, when foreign leaders convened in Biarritz, France. Democratic lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee urged Trump days later against choosing the Doral resort as the G-7 host site, warning that it would represent a potential violation of both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses in the Constitution.

Trump already faces lawsuits alleging he violated the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign officials at his resorts and hotels. His company donated nearly $200,000 to the U.S. Treasury in February that it said came from profits from foreign governments, but watchdog groups say the amount should be higher.

Trump frequently visits his properties — primarily in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — and has traveled to them more than 300 times since he was sworn into office, according to a compilation of information released by the White House.

Revenue increased at many of the resorts Trump visited in 2018, according to Trump’s most recent personal financial disclosure forms. But Doral’s net operating income fell by 69 percent over the past two years. That comes even as Trump’s overall income dipped slightly from $450 million in 2017 to $434 million in 2018.