Trump scraps plan to host G7 at his Do­ral golf re­sort

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - ZEKE MILLER AND JILL COLVIN

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.

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