"I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders. It is big and grand, on hundreds of acres next to Miami International Airport, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But as usual the Hostile Media & their Democratic Partners went CRAZY!" Tweeted by President Donald Trump over the past weekend in a rare back-tracking to withdraw plans to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Trump-owned Doral Golf Resort in Miami, Florida.
Reversing course and stopping a problematic no-bid contract worth several millions to any hotel or property, as well as a major reputation enhancement, is a good idea. Making the selection in the first place on many fronts, and particularly given his timing, was a very bad one. I will give the President credit however again, in that he is often a master of distraction. All this chatter and absorption of the 24-hour news cycle for a few days did shift to this story and away from the Ukraine, Kurds in North Syria and the impeachment inquiry.
Though as the original G-7 site announcement came from at least still now Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (as of this writing), it was also Mulvaney who let slip a boo-boo regarding the President's earlier phone call with the President of the Ukraine in the same briefing. I would not be taking bets on Mr. Mulvaney's long term job security.
The Doral is a beautiful hotel, as is Mar-a-Lago, the Trump National Hotel in Washington, D.C. and many other Trump resorts, both foreign and domestic, but even if offered at cost, with no public bidding or public contracts from a private company, the revenue to the host property would be in the millions of dollars, as well as the additional global media exposure. The last then G-8 Summit on American soil was in June of 2004 at The Cloister on Sea Island, hosted by President George W. Bush.
That visit by the eight heads of state was deemed important enough to custom order a hand-made conference table utilizing old growth hardwoods and repurposed timber at a reported cost of nearly $100,000. If the table was that pricey, imagine the costs for security, catering and lodging. And presidents, prime ministers and the like typically travel with rather large posses, not to mention the several hundred news media outlets and reporters staged and present nearby.
This President should be, and likely has already been made well aware of the downsides of his hotels doing business with foreign governments, as his private lawyers have been litigating multiple lawsuits siting the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits U.S. Presidents from directly or indirectly receiving income from foreign governments while in office. President Trump chose not to place his various enterprises in a blind-trust or to completely separate himself from his many business holdings. While his corporate and real estate holdings remain privately-owned and generally managed at present by his two sons, many acknowledge the President remains apprised of, if not directly engaged in the day to day affairs of various Trump enterprises.
As candidate Trump, the entrepreneur often Tweeted and stated at campaign rallies that he might become the first President to actually make money on his campaign, as well as while being in office. The Trump 2020 re-election campaign theme is Promises Made, Promises Kept. It appears we may have two more of those to add to that list.
At G-8 Summit 30, on Sea Island, an additional wrinkle was the passing of former President Ronald Reagan, and his funeral which occurred on June 9, on the second day of the summit, and caused several heads of state to extend their stays stateside. The Doral would pass muster on similar access to military installations, but so for that matter would the Eden Roc or the Fontainebleu Resorts in Miami Beach. And closer to D.C., both the Greenbrier in West Virginia, or the Homestead in Virginia, would also easily fit the bill, and have previously hosted foreign heads of state.
If the Doral's selection had become reality, Congressional Democrats were all but stating that this action would have created its own separate Article of Impeachment, and even many of the Presidents typical allies and defenders on Capitol Hill were more than lightly critical of both the timing and the choice.
Some supporters of this President have suggested that his likeness may later be added to the carvings on Mount Rushmore. Though his re-election may well still be possible, driven largely by the hard rush left by the most likely candidates still standing in the Democratic field, it would seem right now that he may be more strongly remembered for having too many thumbs instead. Two.