Trump chooses Trump golf to host G7 summit, outcry in Washington

The Trump National Doral Club, in Miami, will host this annual meeting in June 2020, at the risk of fueling accusations about the conflicts of interest of the former real estate mogul.

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A view from the entrance of the Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida, in April 2018.
A view from the entrance of Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida, April 2018. MICHELE EVE SANDBERG / AFP

Donald Trump had implied it, the White House confirmed it, causing a wave of indignation: the next G7 summit will take place in one of the golf clubs of the American president, in Florida. The Trump National Doral Club, in Miami, will welcome, from June 10 to 12, 2020, this great annual meeting which brings together the leaders of the seven developed countries.

"We are absolutely convinced that this is the best place to organize it"White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday, at the risk of fueling accusations – already fed – on the conflicts of interest of the former real estate mogul. The announcement sparked very strong reactions in Washington, among both elected officials and civil society. The last US-organized G7, chaired by Barack Obama in 2012, was held at Camp David, a government residence in Maryland.

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Accusations of conflict of interest

Jerry Nadler, Democratic Chair of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives, said he was scandalized, seeing in this decision "A shameless example of the president's corruption". "Our founding fathers have to turn in their gravethundered Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. It's not just a conflict of interest, it's unconstitutional. "

"It's hardly believable"responded the NGO Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which focuses on conflicts of interest in the American political class. "There is no longer any doubt: the US government is used as a public relations and marketing subsidiary of the Trump Organization. "

Faced with the avalanche of questions raised by this choice, Mr. Mulvaney assured that it was the result of a rigorous process and that twelve different sites had been considered. "There will always be people who will not accept the idea that this is happening on a Trump property. We are aware of it, but we will go there anyway. ", he persisted at a press point.

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How was this decision made? "We used the same criteria used by previous administrations to organize summits"he assured. Is it ready, in the interests of transparency, to make public the documents that led to this choice? " Absolutely not. "

Is not it a shameless way to advertise the Trump brand? "I've heard that before … I'm just asking you to take into account the fact that the Donald Trump brand is already strong enough like that. " Were there not other places throughout the United States that could accommodate such a summit? "It's not the only place, but it's the best place. "

A possibility evoked during the G7 in Biarritz

For its part, the Trump Organization said " honored " to have been chosen by … Donald Trump. On the occasion of the last summit of the G7, organized this summer by France in Biarritz, Donald Trump had defended uncomplicated this unprecedented scenario. "It's a great place!he had explained. It has a considerable area, several hundred hectares, so we can handle any event on the spot (…). It is right next to the airport. "

The American president had, on this occasion, brushed aside legal or ethical questions. "I will not make money at allhe had assured. I do not care about making money. "It will probably cost me something like $ 3 billion to $ 5 billion to be president."he had added, without any explanation as to the elements which would have enabled him to arrive at this figure.

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Beyond the choice of the hotel, the White House chief of staff did not dwell on the priorities that would be put forward by the United States during this meeting. "Climate change will not be on the agenda"he simply let go, sure of his fact, in response to a question on this topic. Donald Trump is the only leader in the world to have taken his country out of the Paris climate deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stem the runaway climate change.

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