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Trump suggests hosting next G7 summit at his financially floundering Florida resort, claims it’s ‘the right location’

2019-08-26

President Trump speaks at a press conference in Biarritz, France on Monday. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump couldn’t resist a plug for his namesake business Monday, saying during an appearance at the Group of Seven summit in France that he’s inclined to host next year’s diplomatic shindig at one of his financially floundering resorts.

Speaking at a press conference concluding this weekend’s G7 in Biarritz, the president claimed his staff had scoped out host locations across the U.S. for the 2020 summit and finally settled on Trump National Doral golf club outside Miami.

“They went places all over the country, and they came back and said, ‘This is where we’d like to be,’” said Trump, who refused to divest ownership stake in his eponymous company upon taking office, meaning he would stand to profit massively from hosting a prestigious event like the G7 at Doral.

But the president insisted he had nothing to do with the selection process.

“It’s not about me. It’s about getting the right location," he said, citing Doral’s sprawling parking lot and proximity to Miami’s airport.

The Trump Organization revealed in tax filings late last year that Doral’s revenues had been plummeting.

The filings showed room, golf and banquet rates were all down significantly since Trump’s 2016 campaign launch, and the resort’s net income had overall fallen a whopping 69% in two years.

View of the clubhouse at the Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida.
View of the clubhouse at the Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida. (The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

But Trump maintained Monday that potential profit had nothing to do with wanting to throw G7 at his struggling resort.

“I don’t want to make money," he said. "I don’t care about making money.”

Government watchdogs didn’t buy Trump’s demurral.

“He’s taking it to a point where he’s using the power of the presidency of the United States to prop up a failing business of his,” Jordan Libowitz, a communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the Daily News.

Libowitz’s organization has been extensively involved in litigation accusing Trump of violating the constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars sitting presidents from accepting gifts or titles from foreign governments.

Libowitz said hosting the G7 at Doral could pose an emoluments clause violation on Trump’s part.

Beyond possible constitutional violations, Libowitz argued Trump’s shameless self-promotion does damage on another front.

“It puts serious doubt in the public trust in the office of the presidency,” Libowitz said. “If people start doubting whether the president is making decisions on behalf of the country or using the presidency to benefit himself, democracy starts coming apart."