Donald Trump — who has endangered his own presidency by demanding Ukraine and China investigate what he’s called the “corruption” of the Biden family — has announced the site for the U.S.-hosted meeting of the world’s top democracies next June: The Trump Doral golf resort in Miami.
Even for Trump, who routinely seeks to profit from his office, the decision to steer the massive contract for the 2020 meeting of the G7 to his own property is without precedent — and marks a new low for his brand of banana Republicanism.
A meeting of this scope would significantly juice the revenues of the Trump Doral, which like many of the president’s golf properties has been struggling financially. The lodging requirements for a G7 meeting are massive, and include accommodations for the diplomatic entourages of the elected leaders of the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Great Britain, Canada and Italy, in addition to press from across the globe.
The possibility of hosting the global meeting at a resort that he personally profits from was previewed by President Trump in public comments at this year’s G7 summit in August, when he praised Trump Doral’s “tremendous acreage,” ability to house each nation’s delegation in a separate building, and the resort’s proximity to the Miami airport.
The president’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the Doral decision on Thursday. He was pressed on whether this sort of “self dealing” compromises America’s leadership on clean governance, particularly in the context of a gathering of international leaders. Mulvaney rolled his eyes dismissively, and responded, “No.”
Asked if the White House was concerned the choice of Doral as the location for the next G7 would send a bad message about "self dealing" to the rest of the world, Mick Mulvaney says, "No." https://t.co/oW5caRj5Nc pic.twitter.com/AlY2MJvFa1
— ABC News (@ABC) October 17, 2019
Mulvaney confirmed that the idea of hosting the G7 at the Doral came from Trump. But Mulvaney insisted that the property is “far and away the best choice,” adding: “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.”
This bald decision to personally profit from the presidency is ironic, in particular, coming in the wake of Trump’s denunciations of alleged corruption by the Biden family, regarding Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
The current House impeachment inquiry began after a CIA officer blew the whistle on Trump’s call to the president of Ukraine, in which Trump sought “a favor” — that the Eastern European nation interfere in the 2020 election by investigating Joe Biden, and a business deal by Biden’s son. In remarks on the White House lawn on October 3rd, Trump made the same request in public, calling on Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and his father before calling on China to do the same. (There is no evidence that Hunter Biden’s deals in either Ukraine or China broke any laws.)
“They should investigate the Bidens,” Trump said of Ukraine. “Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked. That was a crooked deal — 100 percent.” Trump continued: “By the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine.”
Later that same day, Trump attempted to reframe his calls for foreign election interference as a matter of his presidential responsibilities: “I have an obligation to do it, probably a duty to do it,” Trump said. “Corruption — we are looking for corruption. When you look at what Biden and his son did, and when you look at other people — what they’ve done. And I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden.”
The Doral decision, coming on the heels of the House impeachment inquiry, has left good-governance groups flabbergasted. Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called the choice simply “unbelievable.”
In a statement, Bookbinder added, “Given the potential consequences the president is facing for abusing the presidency for his own gain, we would have thought he would steer clear of blatant corruption at least temporarily; instead he has doubled down on it.
“There appears to be no bottom to President Trump’s corruption,” Bookbinder continued. “There is now no question that the American government is being used as a public relations and marketing subsidiary of the Trump Organization.”