Trump Reverses Decision To Hold G-7 Summit At His Miami Golf Resort

After coming under fire for a decision designed primarily to benefit himself and his family, President Trump has decided to walk back the decision to hold the next G-7 Summit at one of his properties.

Just days after announcing that the 2020 G-7 Summit would be held at his financially strapped Trump National Doral Golf Resort, and facing heavy criticism for doing so, the President has withdrawn his decision amid a storm of criticism of media critics, government ethics experts, and even some fellow Republicans:

President Trump announced abruptly Saturday night that he would no longer host next year’s Group of Seven summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida, bowing to criticism for having selected his own property as the venue for a major diplomatic event.

Trump was buffeted by two straight days of allegations of self-dealing and exasperation from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including some Republican allies who said the selection of Doral as the venue for a gathering of world leaders was indefensible.

The decision — while it lasted — was an unprecedented one in modern American politics: The president awarded a huge contract to himself. The White House promoted Doral as the single best venue in the United States to host the G-7 summit in June, and the meeting would have brought thousands of guests in the offseason to a resort that is struggling financially.

For months, Trump had touted Doral as an ideal venue to host visiting dignitaries, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney made the choice official at a news conference Thursday.

But in a rare reversal in the face of public pressure for a president who prides himself in rarely folding or admitting failure, Trump said Saturday that he and his administration would search for a new location. He attributed the concession to “Irrational Hostility” from Democrats as well as the media, although the revolt among some Republicans may well have been the trigger.

In a trio of tweets late Saturday, Trump wrote, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 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. Would set up better than other alternatives. 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!”

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

On Thursday, Mulvaney trumpeted Doral as the best property in the country to host a gathering of this nature. He said that after the president first recommended that the resort near Miami be considered, an advance team from the White House scouted it along with other sites. After considering locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, Doral was selected, 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,” Mulvaney told reporters.

Mulvaney’s announcement sparked immediate criticism — not only from Democrats but also from some Republican lawmakers who ordinarily defend the president’s actions.

Here are the President’s tweets:

While Trump is blaming his critics for this, it’s clear that someone in the White House got to him and talked sense to him about this decision. Turning a major international event into an opportunity to benefit the companies he still retains an interest in despite the alleged “trust” that he formed prior to becoming President. In addition to what seemed like obvious violations of the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, the decision also appeared to violate several Federal ethics laws that may or may not apply to the President.

While Trump probably didn’t care about the legal issues surrounding his decision, the fact that it came under widespread decision not just from Democrats but also from Republicans is likely one of the reasons for this decision. From the beginning, the assertion made by Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney that Doral was the best location in the country and that it was selected only after an “exhaustive” survey of alternative locations is absurd.

First of all, as I noted on social media the other day, the idea of holding an international summit in Miami in the middle of June is just absurd. While Miami is a nice place, it’s also a hot, humid, kind of hellish place in the summer. Second , scheduling it for the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season seems like a significant risk to me. What exactly would have happened, for example, if we were just days away from the summit and a Category 3 or 4 storm were aimed directly for the Miami area? Moving the summit at that point would not have been realistic.

Second, as I noted last week, the United States has hosted the G-7 Summit a number of times in the past at locations such as Puerto Rico, Williamsburg, Houston, Denver, Sea Island (Georgia), and Camp David. (Source) The idea that there was nowhere else in the United States that would be suited for a summit of this type is therefore absurd and laughable. We live in vast nation with plenty of perfect locations for a summit like this, many of them far more secluded and easier to secure than a golf resort that’s virtually in downtown Miami and which would have required significant disruptions to air traffic patterns, commuter routes, and other logistical nightmares.

Given the fact that it’s uncommon to see this President back down from a decision like this, it’s worthwhile to wonder why it happened. It can’t be the fact that the President came to be concerned about legalities, because he’s made it clear in the past that he doesn’t. He’s also not concerned about the fact that he has clearly been using the Presidency to enrich himself and his family because he’s been doing that since he became President. Indeed, some have suggested that the entire Presidential campaign was originally designed as a way to build “value” for the Trump “brand” and that he never really believed he was going to win. Finally, the negative reaction from Democrats and the media surely had nothing to do with it. Not only has he made it clear that he doesn’t care about that criticism, he clearly relishes it. This leaves the fact that several top Republicans were critical of the idea both behind the scenes and in public. No doubt with an eye on impending impeachment, Trump is at least smart enough to know that he cannot afford to alienate the Republican Senators that will decide his fate.

Whatever the reason, Trump’s decision to withdraw the G-7 from Doral deserves no praise whatsoever. The fact that he was corrupt enough to make the decision to select it in the first place is still a problem. He cares more about enriching himself and his family than he does about the country, and the decision to hold the summit at his property demonstrates that. The fact that he was forced, most likely reluctantly, to change his mind just demonstrates how bad the initial decision was.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, U.S. Constitution, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    And if he gets a Violation of Emoluments added to the ever-increasing charges for impeachment, he’s gonna protest and claim that because he never went through with it obviously everything’s hunky-dory.

    As they say over at Reddit, narcs gotta narc.

    4
  2. mattbernius says:

    Mick Mulvany keeps saying the silent parts out loud (this time in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News):

    “He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney says of Trump selecting his Doral resort to host G-7. “At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” Mulvaney says of the president of the United States.

    https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1185909324159311872?s=19

    100% on the concluding paragraph Doug.

    Beyond that, it’s worth noting how quickly the Tough Guy PoTUS filled like a house of cards on this issue. Man I am getting tired from all this Winning!

    10
  3. Mikey says:

    What exactly would have happened, for example, if we were just days away from the summit and a Category 3 or 4 storm were aimed directly for the Miami area?

    I’d reconsider my atheism.

    30
  4. CSK says:

    But who, among the Republicans, holds this kind of sway over Trump? I’m willing to believe someone was able to make him see reason, since there’s no other obvious explanation for this reversal, but who?

    7
  5. Guarneri says:

    Just as I expected, in a comment a few days ago. And now, you all, Democrats, and media (is repeating yourself poor grammar, Mr Zucker?), look like the small, petty people you are. If he wanted to put an exclamation point on it he’d start taking his salary instead of donating it. Of course, that would make him look as pathetic as you all.

    “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 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. Would set up better than other alternatives. 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!
    ….Therefore, 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. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”

    2
  6. Steve V says:

    Ah but what if he was just trolling all along? Then it’s totally ok right?

    5
  7. Guarneri says:

    “What exactly would have happened, for example, if we were just days away from the summit and a Category 3 or 4 storm were aimed directly for the Miami area? Moving the summit at that point would not have been realistic.”

    You are aware, Mr Meteorologist, that hurricane season is August to October. Right? Right!!! I live in Naples. June hurricanes are not a concern (snicker)

    There is crazy, and then there is batshixt crazy.

    But the standard has been laid. All future summits in underground bunkers in Colorado!! I mean, what if??

    2
  8. DrDaveT says:

    @Steve V:

    Ah but what if he was just trolling all along? Then it’s totally ok right?

    The Guarneri Defense? In their heads, that not only makes it totally OK, but also reveals Democrats to be ‘petty’ for having objected in the first place. Kind of like how, if you threaten to run over baby ducks, which is the kind of thing you’ve done before, and people get mad at you for wanting to do it so you don’t do it this time, that pwns the objectors and makes them look petty…

    As for “doing it for free”, what would you say is the marketing/advertising value of having a major international summit at your resort…?

    21
  9. DrDaveT says:

    @Guarneri:

    Just as I expected, in a comment a few days ago.

    I will certainly concede that you understand how Trump ‘thinks’ better than anyone else here. The depth of your experience in this is without peer.

    18
  10. @Guarneri:

    “The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th.” — National Hurricane Center

    34
  11. CSK says:

    The day Trump has a selfless impulse will be the day the sun rises in the west. His foundation, now shuttered by the law, was his personal piggy bank. He had to pay a $25 million dollar fine to the victims of Trump “University.” He made a career of stiffing contractors.

    And he’d willingly lose money on Doral? Sure.

    27
  12. Hal_10000 says:

    I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.

    Just to note: this is meaningless. Trump can run a thing at no profit and still make a ton of money. That’s what he did with the children’s cancer charity. Ran it at “no profit” because he was paying enormous salaries to himself and benefits to the resort. Also worth noting that he was scheduling this during a slow season for the Doral when they usually lose money because of a lack of bookings. So that “no profit” conceals that it also meant erasing the usual losses.

    27
  13. Bird Dog says:

    One, I doubt Trump wants another article added to the growing impeachment articles.
    Two, Pelosi made it clear that the US government was not going to cover the cost, which means Trump would be out-of-pocket for all the security and set-up. Because it’s Trump First, America Second, he bailed.

    18
  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Bird Dog:

    One, I doubt Trump wants another article added to the growing impeachment articles.

    I disagree. This is all about the Big Lie, which in this case is that the impeachment is baseless political scheming by the Democrats to illegally undo Trump’s legitimate election. The more charges the Democrats bring, the easier it gets for Trump to dismiss them as just more Fake News. That’s appalling, but probably true psychologically — the more Trump crimes you point out, the more he can say to his base “they’ll accuse me of anything they can think of to invalidate your votes”.

    5
  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: For someone who claims to be a Big Honkin’ Great Businessman, you certainly don’t seem to understand what “at cost” can allow people to shove under the radar. Or the ethical and professional constraints placed on the President of the United States.

    I suspect your business experiences are similarly non-existent. As the man says, EVERYONE is Ronnie Coleman on the internets….

    12
  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    Stephanie Ruhle took apart the ‘at cost’ argument on MSNBC the other day. Doral has no helipads – they’ll have to be built. Where? On the golf course which, afterward, will have to be extensively remodeled. There are only two presidential level suites – do you think the other 5 will be OK with that, or will that requite extensive upgrading? Then there’s the matter of advance teams from seven countries having to be there week ahead of time, all paying for rooms, food, etc… All this as the failing Doral is entering what was scheduled to be a low point in occupancy.

    IOW Trump was looking to get US taxpayers to remodel his run-down, failing Doral club. And yes: failing. Why? Cuz of the big T word all over it.

    26
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Cult45 members are like Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes. “I see NUTHINK!”

    6
  18. Kathy says:

    Whatever the reason, Trump’s decision to withdraw the G-7 from Doral deserves no praise whatsoever.

    This.

    I don’t usually port comments from other threads, but I will this time:

    “Mean Democrats won’t let me indulge in corrupt practices! Waaaah!”

    14
  19. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT: Precisely. This is why Trump is characterizing the impeachment process as an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election. He’s telling his cult that the Democrats and the media are trying to disenfranchise them. It’s less an attack on him, he’s warning, than them.

    3
  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    Actually, my guess is that Pompeo started hearing from respectable world leaders that they could not be part of this open corruption. Being rejected by Macron or Merkel would have killed the whole thing and Trump would be sitting at Doral by himself, eating his extra big chocolate cake and scratching his bedbugs.

    22
  21. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael. Please. That’s beautiful chocolate cake.

    6
  22. Chip Daniels says:

    @CSK:

    Because Trumpists refuse to accept the legitimacy of opposition, they have concluded, like Sohrab Amari or the author of the Flight 93 narrative, that liberal democracy itself is the problem.

    And the corollary to this is that the entire world- all the intelligence agencies, the FBI, the foreign service, the media, higher education, even the 60% of their fellow Americans are corrupt or evil and must be destroyed.

    18
  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You didn’t see the updated calendar Doug, June 1 is crossed out and Aug 1 written over it in magic marker.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Quite likely, in addition this was likely a bridge too far even for his corrupt kids. Added to the fact there was virtually no support from congressional rethugs.

    Would you believe…: That Mulvaney is conducting sabotage in plain sight?

    14
  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: This is equivalent to the problems the Brits have been running into with Brexit: the devil is always in the details.

    I suspect that the world population is divided into those who, when hearing about a political decision, will say: “Interesting idea–now how do we implement it?” and those who just want-the-decision-to-be-implemented-and-don’t-bother-me-with-the-details.

    Somewhere else I remember reading the comment: “not-so-great generals obsess about strategy; great generals worry about logistics.”

    (Trump, of course, worries about neither. Which means he’s in the third class: out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.)

    13
  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: He doesn’t realty care about when the season is or what the National Hurricane Center says, but at least he’ll go away now. Thanks Doug! 😀

    10
  26. gVOR08 says:

    Actually, it seems to me to fit a pattern. You can always count on Republicans to do the right thing. After they’ve caught enough flack for doing the wrong thing.

    Doesn’t sound more complicated than Trump threw it out on a whim, Mulvaney clicked heels and said, “Jawohl, mein fuhrer.”, launched staff to rig a selection procedure, went to the boss saying, “Didn’t I do good? Huh, huh, huh? “, and got patted on the head. Until the utterly predictable spit hit the fan.

    9
  27. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: Read somewhere that really good generals worry about personnel policy. Which also seems appropriate here.

    2
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri:

    Therefore, 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. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!

    Shouldn’t they just pick the runner up, or one of the other finalists from the previous exhaustive search? Takes 10 minutes.

    16
  29. Joe says:

    He said that after the president first recommended that the resort near Miami be considered, an advance team from the White House scouted it along with other sites. After considering locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, Doral was selected, Mulvaney said.

    So, since they have all this advance work, I trust the replacement property – the diligently evaluated “runner up” – will be identified tomorrow.

    (I crack myself up some days.)

    8
  30. Gustopher says:

    This leaves the fact that several top Republicans were critical of the idea both behind the scenes and in public. No doubt with an eye on impending impeachment, Trump is at least smart enough to know that he cannot afford to alienate the Republican Senators that will decide his fate.

    I’m going to turn that on it’s head and ask why are more Republicans now willing to speak out against decision made by Trump?

    It’s not just that the decisions are indefensible, as there have been plenty of indefensible decisions (caging children, Ivanka and Jared having a role in the White House….).

    I think it’s just easier to object or refuse to support when you’ve done so before, and the betrayal of the Kurds is going to be the turning point that leads to the abandonment of Trump.

    And Trump’s decision to reverse the Doral summit was likely based on foreign leaders saying they wouldn’t come.

    4
  31. Gustopher says:

    I would actually be a little impressed if next week the Trump Administration announces that the G-7 summit will be held at Mar-a-Lago.

    3
  32. CSK says:

    I suppose it’s possible Trump received irate phone calls Friday and Saturday from Merkel, Macron, Trudeau et al saying “No. We’re NOT staying at that vermin-infested fleabag.”

    6
  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    the betrayal of the Kurds is going to be the turning point that leads to the abandonment of Trump.

    If Mitt Romney is starting to oppose Trump, the wind has surely changed. However, you can make a case that Trumpsky’s attack on Mitt over his first feeble criticisms has backed Mitt into a corner.

    1
  34. al Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    But the standard has been laid. All future summits in underground bunkers in Colorado!! I mean, what if??

    I didn’t realize that Camp David might be relocated to Colorado.

    5
  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri:

    There is crazy, and then there is batshixt crazy.

    You would know, seeing as you are on a first name basis with the latter.

    6
  36. PJ says:

    @Gustopher:

    Shouldn’t they just pick the runner up, or one of the other finalists from the previous exhaustive search? Takes 10 minutes.

    All the finalists were Trump properties.

    2
  37. An Interested Party says:

    Beyond that, it’s worth noting how quickly the Tough Guy PoTUS filled like a house of cards on this issue.

    Typical of a bully, of course…

    @Guarneri: Have you contracted the same STD that your hero is obviously suffering from? That would explain a lot…

    3
  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    While I agree with you… But Lindsey Graham is now back on his knees, so we never know.

    2
  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: I kind of doubt the story that he folded because foreign leaders said they weren’t coming. We’re I they, I’d wait to see how this went with Congress and the courts. Odds on they wouldn’t have had to do anything.

  40. PJ says:

    Such a weak man, can’t even stand up to the lame Democrats and the fake media.

    Sad.

    4
  41. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @PJ:

    In Utah, where Mulvaney said two places had made a final list of four sites, the governor’s office said it was not aware any venue there was under serious consideration.

    2
  42. MarkedMan says:

    (Bear with me for a minute, this will be relevant…)
    A few months ago I think I got the answer to a thirty year old mystery: When Trump had blown all $400M of his fathers money and billions more in investor money and was headed towards personal bankruptcy and on the verge of moving with Ivana to a bungalow in Paterson, the banks kept him personally solvent, commenting that they were better off with Trump still participating in the sell off of his assets. I always wondered what that meant, specifically. What could a moron like Trump do that would be worth giving him an allowance of a million dollars or so? But recently there was an article about a Trump hotel property in NYC where the “investors” were concerned about the drag the Trump name was having on occupancy rates. And it turns out these investors were essentially time-share owners. Years ago the hotel had sold off the rooms one by one to small investors and, because no bank wants to run a hotel, had let the Trump Organization continue to run it. Suddenly, I understood what the banks had meant when they said it was better having Trump involved. Hapless and gullible suckers would pay twice the going rate to be associated with “The Donald”, thinking they were getting a great deal when any real investor would spot it as a con job in minutes.

    That’s our friend Guarneri. He’s the gullible buffoon that buys in to Trump’s BS when everyone else realizes the guy is just a pathetic loser.

    12
  43. Ken_L says:

    The terrifying aspect of this farce was that once again, Trump appears to have had no idea of the way other people were guaranteed to react to his decision. I’ve never known anyone with less understanding of the notion that actions have consequences, and less capable of anticipating what those consequences are likely to be. Such appalling blindness is possibly the most dangerous failing a man in Trump’s position could have, especially now he’s dismissed any advisers who might do the seeing for him.

    10
  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Nobody told the cities of Doral or Miami either.

    2
  45. Kathy says:

    El Cheeto is still whining about how great a choice his property is, and how cruel of the Democrats not to let him hold the G-7 there.

    It’s Charlottesville all over again. Doing the kind-of-ethical thing, that hurts Mr. Dennison no end. If he ever does something ethical, I theorize he’d burst into flames and leave behind only a small pile of ash.

    5
  46. Blue Galangal says:

    @CSK: With TWO SCOOPS of ice cream.

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Ken_L:
    People whose daddies give them 400 million dollars and buy their way through college and out of military service have no experience facing consequences.

    7
  48. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    Guarneri…proof that the Universe is made up of electrons, neutrons, protons, and morons.

    2
  49. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I just was tagged for an interview by a so-called “business matching” company. Oh, we’ll find a great number of great leads for you, there’s only a $250 initial fee and $199/monthly payment afterwards….

    I vamoosed out of that at the speed of light. Any company which has a “F” BBB rating isn’t anyone I want to talk to.