Thursday , 14 November 2019
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Trump drops plan to host G-7 at his Doral golf resort

AFP

Washington

Responding to stinging criticism, President Donald Trump has abruptly reversed his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world leaders’ meeting at his Doral, Florida, golf resort next year.

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 a 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 G-7 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 acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who held a press 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.

In the same press conference, 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 elections. Mulvaney later claimed his comments had been misconstrued, but not before drawing the ire of the president and frustration from other senior aides.

Trump had been the first administration official to publicly float the selection of his property to host the summit when in August he mentioned it was on the short-list and praised its facilities and proximity to Miami’s international airport. His comments, more than a month before the official announcement, drew instant criticism from good governance groups and Democrats, who said it raised concerns that Trump was using the White House to boost his personal finances The vociferous criticism did not die down, even as Trump insisted he would host the summit at cost, though he refused to disclose financial details. The annual heads-of-state gathering would at minimum have provided good-will value to his property.

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