The Jury Talks Back

10/17/2019

Confirmed: President Trump To Host Next Year’s G-7 At His Miami Golf Resort

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:38 am

[guest post by Dana]

While President Trump may not directly benefit financially from hosting the event at his property, the Trump Organization will most certainly benefit with a significant shot in the arm to the Trump Brand, likely resulting in an increase of national and international tourism to the resort, and his other properties. It’s disingenuous to believe that such a high-profile meeting involving some of the world’s most prominent leaders wouldn’t benefit the Trump Organization:

[A]cting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced…that next year’s G-7 meeting will be held at President Trump’s resort in Doral, Florida between June 10 and 12.

The decision to hold the G-7 meeting at the Trump National Doral Golf Club had been bandied about for months — since Trump made a pitch to have next year’s summit at the resort during August’s G-7 conference in France – and has created controversy amid concerns over the ethics of the president personally profiting off an official government event.

During a rare and contentious White House press briefing, Mulvaney tried to assuage concerns about any emoluments violations by the president by telling the media that Trump will not make any money off the event. He said the golf club will be providing the location and services at cost.

“The president has made it clear that he doesn’t profit from being here…“The resort is doing it at cost…it’s much cheaper to do it at Doral than at other sites.”

When I originally posted about the possibility of the G-7 being held at Doral, I noted that there were already concerns about the conflict of interest, given that the President had never divested from the Trump Organization:

The Washington Post reports that Trump has long pushed to hold next year’s G7 at the Doral but has seen some internal resistance from people concerned about the ethics of such a decision. The problem is that Trump has never divested from his company, the Trump Organization, meaning he would personally profit from the summit’s coming to the Doral.

He dismissed the concerns speaking to reporters Monday. “In my opinion, I’m not going to make any money,” he said. He added that being president costs him between $3 billion and $5 billion a year, a claim he said he would soon back up with evidence.

Today, Mulvaney defended the decision when asked about bad optics amid Trump’s accusations about Joe Biden pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor looking into a company where Hunter Biden sat on the board:

Mulvaney was also questioned about the optics of how hosting the event at Doral would look – and any possible financial gains the president would get from the summit – in light of Trump’s unfounded claims that former Vice President Joe Biden used his office to pressure the Ukrainian government into firing top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating a company where his son was on the board.

The former vice president has acknowledged publicly that he pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin but denied it had any relation to his son’s business dealings in the country. Biden said his actions were in line with pressure from other foreign leaders to fire the prosecutor.

Mulvaney argued that the president does not need any help with his brand and that he had made his fortune before entering politics.

“Consider that Donald Trump’s brand is strong enough at it is and doesn’t need any help…The Trump family made their money before they went into politics.”

While it is true that the Trump family went into politics with significant wealth and an established brand, the Doral Resort is not doing well financially and hosting an event of this magnitude could certainly reverse its fortunes:

Trump’s presidency so far seems to have harmed Trump Doral’s bottom line. In a meeting with a magistrate for the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board in December 2018, a consultant hired by the Trump Organization said the hotel is “severely under-performing.” The consultant cited lower occupancy and room rates at the Doral hotel compared to its competitors and an 18 percent slump in revenue from 2015 to 2017 as reasons to lower the property’s value.

Trump blew off any concerns about his decision:

I used to make money off giving speeches. Now, I make speeches all the time and you know how much I make? Zero. From my standpoint, I’m not going to make any money…I don’t want to make any money.

–Dana

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