Biarritz, France, Aug 26 – President Donald Trump said Monday he could host next year’s G7 summit at his own golf club in Miami, drawing immediate criticism that he is profiteering from his presidency.
Speaking on the last day of this year’s summit of seven leading democracies in Biarritz, France, the president said his own Trump National Doral Miami club would be the ideal place when he takes over the group’s leadership in the coming year.
“It’s a great place. It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens,” he told reporters.
He said his staff had already reviewed 12 different sites for the 2020 meeting, and none of them matched Doral’s “series of magnificent buildings.”
“It’s right next to the airport, meaning a few minutes away… plus it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units in them, so each delegation can have its own building.”
“They love the location of the hotel,” he said. “It’s Miami.”
– Promoting Trump real estate –
But critics immediately blasted him for looking to make a profit from his time in the White House.
“We’re very concerned that Donald Trump has turned the presidency into a promotional agency for the Trump Organization,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director for the transparency group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
“President Trump is openly using his administration to prop up his struggling businesses.”
The Doral resort is in the western suburbs of Miami, far from the ocean views that draw millions to the southern Florida city, but, as Trump pointed out, a five minute drive from Miami International Airport.
Its four golf courses are tightly woven through housing developments and lakes, which themselves are surrounded by glum warehouses and office parks.
Refurbished under his own name after Trump bought the property out of bankruptcy in 2012, the resort has 642 rooms and suites, including two “presidential suites,” multiple swimming pools and a separate spa building.
A lifelong real estate developer whose business revolves around Trump-branded luxury golf courses and skyscrapers, the president spoke passionately about the Miami property.
“With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows. They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants,” he said
“And we have many hundreds of acres, so in terms of parking and in terms of all the things you need (it is) among the biggest in Florida and the best.”
According to reports, the property struggles somewhat commercially, but has mostly positive reviews on TripAdvisor — though it is said to have been hit by bedbug infestations.
– Diplomats spending at Trump properties –
According to the Miami Herald, the resort confidentially settled a lawsuit filed by a New Jersey insurance executive over bedbug bites shortly before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Trump has been frequently criticized for using his own properties for official business.
CREW says that, since his inauguration in 2017, Trump has visited his properties on almost one-third of his days as president. His favorite is the oceanside Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has entertained the leaders of China and Japan.
The government spends pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to the resort each time Trump visits, including renting golf carts for his Secret Service protection.
But it is not only his own use of his properties that draws attention: critics say he earns significant profits from businessmen and foreign diplomats who stay at his Washington Trump International Hotel in order to gain favor with him.
Democrats in Congress have repeatedly accused Trump of breaking the US constitution’s ban on using his office for profit, saying that unlike previous US leaders, he has not divested his businesses while in office.