Former Colorado political reporter Eli Stokols, now of the Los Angeles Times, reports:
President Trump intends to host next year’s G7 conference at his Doral International Resort in Miami in June, the White House confirmed Thursday, a controversial decision certain to raise conflict of interest questions given the financial benefit to Trump’s business…
The idea immediately generated controversy. Trump is already fighting two lawsuits suggesting that he is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits U.S. office-holders from personally profiting from payments by foreign governments.
But White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that the decision, which he acknowledged was Trump’s idea, would not represent a conflict.
“The president has pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t profit,” Mulvaney said. The resort would host the foreign delegations for the G-7 conference “at cost,” he said, adding that the Doral was “far and away the best physical facility for this meeting.”
June is awfully hot and sticky in South Florida, being the time of year when President Donald Trump usually heads to his many northward properties like Bedminster, New Jersey instead of his Doral resort or the Mar-a-Lago Club in nearby Palm Beach. Ordinarily, of course, a President would be expected to suggest a venue for an occasion as important as the G-7 Summit free of even the appearance of conflict–but of course there’s nothing ordinary about this President! Even more so than the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. that foreign special interests who want to get something done know to stay at without asking, either this is an illegal steering of official business toward Trump’s personal enrichment or the Emoluments Clause is meaningless.
And depending on what happens in Congress, there’s a possibility this could become very awkward.