Trump scraps plan to host G7 at his Doral golf resort
WASHINGTON — Responding to stinging criticism, U.S. President Donald Trump has abruptly reversed his plan to hold next year’s Group of Seven world leaders’ meeting at his Doral golf resort in Florida.
“I think he knows,” his acting chief of staff said Sunday, “people think it looks lousy.”
Trump announced a rare backtrack Saturday night after facing accusations that he was using the presidency to enrich himself by hosting the international summit at the private resort owned by his family.
“Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G7 in 2020,” Trump tweeted. He said his administration “will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”
The striking reversal raises further doubts about the position of the president’s top aide, Mick Mulvaney, who held a news conference Thursday announcing the choice of Doral for the summit. He insisted his staff had concluded it was “far and away the best physical facility.” Mulvaney said the White House reached that determination after visiting 10 sites across the country.
Mulvaney on Sunday claimed that Trump was “honestly surprised at the level of pushback” after the Doral announcement. “At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday.”
“He wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could and he was very confident in doing that at Doral,” the acting chief of staff said.
Days after being the face of the selection, Mulvaney again held a national stage but this time said: “I think it’s the right decision to change.”
At the same news conference on Thursday, Mulvaney acknowledged a quid pro quo was at work when Trump held up U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine’s investigation of Democrats and the 2016 election. Mulvaney later claimed his comments had been misconstrued, but not before drawing the ire of the president and frustration from other senior aides.