White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday that next year’s G7 summit will be held at President Donald Trump’s Doral golf resort outside of Miami, Florida.
Mulvaney appeared ready to take on scrutiny from across the political aisle over the decision to let one of the President’s properties become part of an official diplomatic summit, according to NPR. Trump has previously faced criticism for maintaining his business holdings while serving as President.
“We know the environment we live in,” Mulvaney said, suggesting he and Trump are both unconcerned about the potential backlash from letting his resort host the summit.
Mulvaney went on to say was a suggestion by Trump himself that staff followed endorsed and followed through with arranging. Trump reportedly began to suggest Doral in August, after attending the 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
When asked if the Trump administration ought to worry about the appearance of self-dealing, Mulvaney said “no” and suggested the decision has the potential to return a cost-saving benefit.
“We haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it,” Trump told reporters.
The President touted his resorts proximity to Miami International Airport, abundant parking and private cabanas that could host each of the seven delegations.
“It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens,” Trump said.
Democrats were quick to react to the Thursday announcement.
“The Administration’s announcement that President Trump’s Doral Miami resort will be the site of the next G7 summit is among the most brazen examples yet of the President’s corruption,” House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. said. “He is exploiting his office and making official U.S. government decisions for his personal financial gain.”
Trump had technically stepped down from running the Trump Organization prior to assuming his office as President, but he has not surrendered his stakes in various business holdings, including several golf clubs, hotels and office buildings.
Political opponents have launched several lawsuits alleging Trump’s continued stake in his business holdings is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which bans the president from accepting gifts and payments from foreign and state governments.
“Given the potential consequences the president is facing for abusing the presidency for his own gain, we would have thought he would steer clear of blatant corruption at least temporarily; instead he has doubled down on it,” said Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington which is one of the groups suing Trump over alleged emoluments clause violations.
In September, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives announced a probe into US military units taking layovers at an airbase in Scotland to allegedly benefit a nearby Trump hotel.
Since announcing his run for President, Trump’s properties have reportedly seen an increase in use by Republican groups holding fundraising and political events. GOP disclosures to the Federal Elections Commission indicate Republican candidates and officials have spent millions at Trump properties in 2019 alone.
Trump’s own financial disclosures show he earned $76 million in income from Doral in 2018, which actually suggesting his earnings from his stake in the property have actually gone down from nearly $116 million in 2016 before he took office.