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Trump reverses plans to host G-7 summit at his Doral resort in Florida

President Donald Trump reversed course on his decision to host the next Group of Seven summit of world leaders at his resort in Doral, Florida, on Saturday night, less than three days after the plans were first announced and led to a storm of criticism.

In a string of tweets posted late Saturday, Trump said that “crazy” reporters and Democrats had forced him to reconsider the move.

The administration’s announcement on Thursday was received with broad bipartisan criticism, both from Republicans as well as Democratic members that swiftly vowed to add the case to a sweeping federal lawsuit accusing the president of repeatedly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders,” Trump wrote. “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 Democrat Partners went CRAZY!” he continued. “Therefore, 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. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”

Trump said that the event, which brings together leaders from seven of the world’s most advanced economies, could be held at Camp David, even though acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney ruled the presidential retreat out in his initial announcement.

“Was that the perfect place? In fact, I understand the folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to have the G7. It was way too small. It was way too remote,” Mulvaney said. “My understanding is this media didn’t like it because you had to drive an hour on a bus to get there either way.”

If Camp David is deemed unsuitable, Mulvaney offered hints at other possible locations for the posh event the French hosted this year in the resort town of Biarritz.

He said the Trump administration considered 12 locations and visited 10 sites in eight states, including California, Florida and North Carolina.

In addition to Doral, two locations in Utah and one in Hawaii made the White House’s short list, Mulvaney said.

Trump initially previewed his plan to pick Trump National Doral at this year’s G-7 summit in France over the summer, citing the golf resort’s proximity to Miami International Airport and its isolation from pedestrians.

But the announcement itself was rolled out hastily.

Originally scheduled for earlier in the week, the decision to name the location was delayed until Thursday, when Mulvaney hosted a media briefing.

Mulvaney acknowledged he was initially “skeptical” of the selection, but ultimately came to believe it was the “perfect physical location,” he told reporters. And he insisted there would be “no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape, or form” from the selection of Doral.

“I would suggest that he probably doesn’t need much help promoting his brand, so we’ll put the profit one aside and deal with a perfect place,” he said.

The summit was scheduled to take place on June 9-13, 2020, and would have marked Miami’s debut on the international stage. Heads of state from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom would have converged on the site for for their yearly meeting.

The nations rotate hosting duties, and Trump said he was interested in the United States inviting the nations to his golf resort, but Miami Herald records requests to the City of Doral, the office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and local police found no evidence of communication from Washington about potentially hosting the summit.

Gimenez told the Herald that he spoke to Trump during by phone when Hurricane Dorian threatened Miami in August, in which the president told him that he was thinking about hosting the summit in Miami-Dade.

After two calls to the Secret Service’s Miami office and strong hints from Trump, the City of Doral had assigned an extra $270,000 to the city’s police budget to cover security costs tied to the summit, Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez said.

Miami Herald staff writers Taylor Dolven, Douglas Hanks, Alex Daugherty and Samantha Gross contributed to this report.

Michael Wilner joined McClatchy as its White House correspondent in 2019. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, where he led coverage of the Iran nuclear talks, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2016 US presidential campaign. Wilner holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.
Francesca Chambers has covered the White House for more than five years across two presidencies. In 2016, she was embedded with the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. She is a Kansas City native.
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