Trump to host 2020 G7 Summit at his Florida golf resort; White House says move not illegal

The White House confirmed the news at a press meet and said that there was nothing illegal in it as the president was not making any direct profit through his resort hosting the world leaders.

                            Trump to host 2020 G7 Summit at his Florida golf resort; White House says move not illegal
Donald Trump (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump doesn’t have a happy memory of G7 summits. In three of those summits that he has attended since taking office in January 2017, he has expressed his hard feelings and faced backlashes. Be it over climate change, trade war or Russia, Trump has not stopped short of enraging America’s old allies in the club. And now, the mercurial president's idea to host the 2020 summit of the rich nations’ club at his own golf resort in Miami is set to become a reality. The White House confirmed this on Thursday, October 17.

White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told the media that the 46th summit of the G7 will be taking place at the Doral golf resort on June 10-12 and called the venue a “perfect physical location”. Trump had floated the idea during his visit to France for this year’s G7 talks in August, saying the size of his property and its proximity to the Miami airport would help and that he would not make direct any profit from the plan. Mulvaney said at the White House that it would be “vastly cheaper” if the summit takes place at Trump’s resort and that the Trump Organization was charging the “cost” and the president had no profit business in this. 

A sign reading Trump National Doral is seen on the grounds of the golf course owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

He also said that a rival venue was ruled out saying the participants would require “oxygen tanks” to go there (because of the altitude). 

White House not ready to reveal talk about Doral as venue

Mulvaney said the president himself had suggested Doral’s name as a probable venue to a group of staff and it was accepted. However, when asked if the White House would reveal paper details on how Doral was finalized as the G7 Summit venue, the top official said no.

He also said that he was expecting the critics to go after the president alleging it to be a breach of the emoluments clause under which the chief executive cannot take “any present, emolument or office” from a foreign state. He defended the decision saying since the president would not profit, hence there was no question of illegality. “We're going to have it there, and there's going to be folks who will never get over the fact that it's a Trump property. We get that, but we're still going there. The president knows exactly that he's going to get these questions and he's simply saying that's fine - I'm willing to take that,” Mulvaney said.

He also mocked Trump’s critics saying while people would see it as “a huge branding opportunity”, President Trump’s brand is already “the biggest in the world”.

Trump reportedly wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay at his resort in Miami as he believes Russia should be brought back into the G7 (originally G8). Russia has been suspended from the grouping since its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Mike Pence slammed for staying in Trump's property in Ireland

This is not the first time that Trump’s property has come in the way of his administration’s functioning. In September, Vice President Mike Pence stayed at one of Trump’s properties during his trip to Ireland because of safety considerations. The matter soon snowballed into a controversy, especially because the venue in Doonbeg is nearly 180 miles from Dublin that required Pence to travel to his diplomatic engagements by plane. Pence’s office issued a clarification saying it took the decision solely and Trump had nothing to do with it.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks while visiting Polish and U.S. soldiers at a military base on February 13, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. (Getty Images)

Bedbug infestation at Doral, a Democrats' conspiracy, says president

Coming back to the G7 summit, if allegations of corruption are not enough, Trump has also faced some other charges and it is about bloodsucking bedbugs infesting his golf club in Miami. The president had lashed out at the reports and called them a “false and nasty rumor”. He even blamed the “Radical Left Democrats” for hatching a conspiracy after hearing that his property was being considered as the venue for the next G7 summit. The rumors gained momentum over a 2016 lawsuit brought by Eric Linder, a 63-year-old New Jersey insurance executive, alleging bedbug infestation at the Doral resort. Linder had claimed in his court papers that he found “welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms and torso” after waking up at the resort’s $300-a-night villa. Even photographs were released to back his claim, the Guardian reported.

Well, G7 leaders must be wary -- not just about Trump but also the bedbugs.

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