U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled his plan to hold the next summit of G7 leaders in his own golf club in Miami (Florida), after a strong controversy over the benefits that would have meant for his business organization to host the event there.
“Due to the Crazy and Irrational Hostility of the Media and Democrats, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, in Miami, as the host (of the summit) of the G7 in 2020,” Trump wrote on his Twitter account late Saturday.
“We will immediately start looking for another place, including the possibility of (the official presidential residence of) Camp David (Maryland). Thank you,” he added.
White House interim chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday the selection of Trump National Doral as the site for the next so-called Group of 7 (G7) summit, to be hosted by the United States in 2020 and to be held June 10-12.
Mulvaney justified the decision by considering that the golf club was “by far the best complex” to organize the summit and assured that Trump would not profit from the event, but immediately generated a wave of criticism and the impression that the president was looking to refloat a place which revenues have fallen 69% in the past two years.
“I thought I was doing something very good for the country by using Trump National Doral in Miami to bring the G7 leaders together,” Trump said on Twitter minutes before announcing his decision.
“It’s huge, great, with hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous dance halls and meeting rooms, and each delegation would have had its own 50 to 70 room buildings,” he continued.
Trump said his club was “better than other alternatives” and that he was willing to host the G7 there “without ANY BENEFIT or, if legally possible, at ZERO COST to the United States”.
“But, as usual, the Hostile Media and their Democratic Partners became CRAZY!”
The announcement of choosing Doral had come at a time of strong scrutiny regarding Trump’s decisions, both those related to Ukraine that have earned him a pre-trial investigation and his order to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria just before the Turkish offensive.
For many Republicans who were balancing to defend him on these two issues, adding up the G7 announcement turned out to be too much.
“We have to try to defend him, but I don’t know if I can do it anymore! I don’t doubt that Doral is a very good place. But this is politically insensitive. They should have known the answer he was going to bring, (the impression) that he is doing it for his own benefit,” Republican Congressman Mike Simpson told The Washington Post Friday.
Several Republican lawmakers pressured the White House to change its mind, while the independent Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) denounced that Trump was “using the power of his office to help save his decadent golf related businesses”.
When he won the election in 2016, the former real estate magnate relinquished control of the Trump Organization to his two older sons, but did not liquidate his interests in those businesses.
His tenure has been peppered with indications that he could make a profit from his position, with more than 2,300 conflict of interest cases accounted for by the CREW organization.