The 2020 Group of Seven summit will be held at President Trump’s own resort in South Florida, the White House announced Thursday, a decision that immediately prompted questions about Trump profiting off of the presidency.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who announced the decision to hold the summit at the Trump National Doral Miami, said there will be no issue with that. “They’re doing this at cost,” he said. “As a result, it’s actually dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Doral compared to the other final sites that we had.”
Mulvaney repeatedly returned to this point as reporters asked him to explain why it’s not improper for Trump to choose his own property for such an event. “He’s not making any money off of this, just like he’s not making any money off of working here,” Mulvaney said shamelessly.
But there are ways for the Trump Organization to profit off of the G7 even if it’s not making money from the event itself. Asked about the branding boost that the property will receive by hosting the event, Mulvaney brushed the concern aside. “I would simply ask you all to consider the possibility that the Trump brand is probably strong enough as it is and he doesn’t need any help on that,” he said. “That has nothing to do with it.”
Mulvaney admitted to one reporter that he was skeptical himself of choosing the Trump-owned property for the event. But he soon became convinced that the property is the “perfect” to hold the summit. Trump, he said, knows he’ll be criticized and doesn’t care.
In fact, this was all Trump’s idea, Mulvaney confirmed Thursday. The president publicly floated the idea of holding next year’s G7 at Doral during this year’s summit in France. One possible reason why? In the words of a consultant hired by the Trump Organization, it’s “severely under-performing.”