Trump ditches plan to host G7 meeting at his Miami resort

Plan condemned as ‘among the most brazen examples yet’ of president enriching himself

Donald Trump reversed G7 decision that sparked accusations of corruption. File photograph: Getty

Donald Trump reversed G7 decision that sparked accusations of corruption. File photograph: Getty

 

US president Donald Trump has been forced into reversing plans to host the G7 meeting at his own luxury resort following a political outcry.

Mr Trump announced in a Saturday night tweet that he had reversed his decision and would seek an alternative venue to host world leaders next June.

The move represents a rare admission of defeat by the president, who typically digs in and fights to defend every controversial statement and policy.

Even in his concession, the president complained bitterly that he thought he was “doing something very good for our country” by choosing the Trump National Doral, near Miami, to host G7 leaders. “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,” he tweeted.

Mr Trump added that he had announced he would do it at no profit and at no cost to the US but, he claimed, both the media and Democrats had reacted unreasonably.

“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,” continued the president. “We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”

The choice of the Trump National Doral was condemned widely as the most egregious example yet of the president abusing his position to enrich himself and his business. The resort was in need of a boost: in May the Washington Post reported that Doral’s operating income had fallen 69 per cent since 2015.

‘Cheaper’ than alternatives

When the venue announcement was made on Thursday by White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who claimed that Doral “was millions of dollars cheaper” than other facilities, Democrats immediately vowed to investigate.

“The constitution is clear: the president cannot accept gifts or payments from foreign governments. No one is above the law,” said House speaker Nancy Pelosi. House judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler described the move as “among the most brazen examples yet of the president’s corruption”.

The backlash came with Trump already facing an impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-led House of Representatives and a backlash from Republicans over his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, abandoning Kurdish allies.

Several congressional investigations are also scrutinising Trump’s finances and potential conflicts of interest stemming from his property business.

The US constitution’s emoluments clause prohibits government officials from receiving salaries, fees or profits from foreign and domestic governments without congressional approval. – Guardian