Trump Scraps Plan for G-7 at Doral 10/20 09:42
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Responding to stinging criticism, President Donald Trump
has abruptly reversed his plan to hold the next year's Group of Seven world
leaders' meeting at his Doral golf resort in Florida.
Trump announced a rare backtrack Saturday night after facing accusations
that he was using the presidency to enrich himself by hosting the international
summit at the private resort owned by his family.
"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," Trump tweeted. He said his administration "will begin the search for
another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately."
The striking reversal raises further doubts about the position of the
president's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who held a news conference
Thursday announcing the choice of Doral for the summit. He insisted his staff
had concluded it was "far and away the best physical facility." Mulvaney said
the White House reached that determination after visiting 10 sites across the
Mulvaney on Sunday claimed that Trump was "honestly surprised at the level
of pushback" after the Doral announcement. "At the end of the day he still
considers himself to be in the hospitality business," Mulvaney told "Fox News
At the same news conference, Mulvaney acknowledged a quid pro quo was at
work when Trump held up U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine's
investigation of Democrats and the 2016 elections. Mulvaney later claimed his
comments had been misconstrued, but not before drawing the ire of the president
and frustration from other senior aides.
Trump had been the first administration official to publicly float the
selection of his property to host the summit when in August he mentioned it was
on the short-list and praised its facilities and proximity to Miami's
international airport. His comments, more than a month before the official
announcement, drew instant criticism from good governance groups and Democrats,
who said it raised concerns that Trump was using the White House to boost his
The vociferous criticism only intensified with Thursday's official
announcement, drawing wide condemnation from Democrats and even some
Republicans. Trump insisted he would host the summit at cost, though he refused
to disclose financial details. The annual heads-of-state gathering would at
minimum have provided goodwill value to his property.
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington, said Trump's reversal Saturday "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."
An hour before Trump's announcement, Democratic presidential candidate Joe
Biden condemned the selection of Doral for the summit. "Hosting the G7 at
Trump's hotel? A president should never be able to use the office for personal
gain," the former vice president said.
On Thursday, Mulvaney had discounted Camp David, the government-owned
presidential retreat, as the site for the summit, claiming, "I understand the
folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to
have the G-7." He added that it was too small and remote for the international
Mulvaney said then that unspecified sites in Hawaii and Utah had also been
on the short list. It was unclear if they were still under consideration.