US President Donald Trump will host next year’s Group of Seven economic summit of developed world leaders at one of his own properties, the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami, a White House official says.
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday that Mr Trump would not profit from use of the property and defended the decision, which comes as the President faces ongoing criticism and congressional investigations over his finances and potential conflicts-of-interest.
Mr Trump has also been criticised previously for hosting foreign leaders, including China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida.
Mr Mulvaney said the summit would take place at Doral on June 10-12, 2020. The administration had chosen Mr Trump’s resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in other US states, he said.
“Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” he said.
“It’s almost like they built this facility to host this event.”
Mr Mulvaney said the summit would be “at cost” and that using the Trump site would save millions of dollars and was cheaper than the other potential sites.
Holding the G-7 at a Trump property is one of the most foolish, unseemly things the WH could do. The President enjoys waiving red flags in front of bulls, but this fight isn’t worth it.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) October 17, 2019
When this year’s G7 wrapped up in France in August, Mr Trump suggested Doral would be ideal for the meeting’s 2020 venue.
“It’s not about me, it’s about getting the right location,” he said at a news conference in Biarritz.
Asked at the time about the propriety of picking his own property as the summit venue, Mr Trump said doing so would actually cost him money.
“In my opinion, I’m not going to make any money,” he said.
“I don’t care about making money… I think it just works out well.”
Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president, over his son’s business ties in Ukraine and China, which Mr Trump has repeatedly called corrupt, without evidence.
Asked how the President’s use of his private business properties to host official government events differed from Mr Trump’s allegations against the Bidens, Mr Mulvaney said there would be no profit and said the family had made its money before Mr Trump became president in January 2017.
Mr Trump has said he is not involved with the day-to-day operations of his private company and that his sons run the business.
US House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has previously said the committee would request White House documents to investigate the legality of hosting the G7 at Doral.