Trump Pushes Back At Doral G-7 Controversy: ‘It Would Have Been Best Ever’
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday pushed back at the widespread criticism of his now abandoned plan to host the upcoming G-7 summit at his Doral resort in South Florida.
“You people, with this phony Emoluments Clause,” the president said in rambling remarks before a Cabinet meeting Monday.
“By the way, I would say it’s cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president, between what I’ve lost and what I could have made,” Trump continued. “I would have made a fortune if I just ran my business. I was doing really well.”
At another point, the president said, “this guy knows right here,” referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was seated at the cabinet table.
“He was in the private sector. he knows very much what I have,” Trump added.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced last Thursday that the administration had chosen Trump’s Doral resort in Miami-Dade County to host the G-7.
The plan was quickly the object of broad bipartisan criticism, with lawmakers threatening to file a federal lawsuit accusing the president of repeatedly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Emoluments Clause prohibits elected federal officials from receiving gifts or contributions from foreign governments.
On Saturday, Trump reversed course, saying he would find a new location for the summit, but he was still clearly bothered by the controversy Monday.
Insisting that he would not have profited off hosting world leaders, scores of journalists and others who would have descended on his family’s property during the meeting, Trump said, “it would have been the best G-7 ever.”
“The Democrats went crazy, even though I would have done it free, saved the country a lot of money,” he continued. “Then they say, ‘Oh, but you’ll get promotion.’ Who cares? You don’t think I get enough promotion? I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
He conceded some of that promotion is “good, some bad.”
“But that’s the way life is. I don’t need promotion,” Trump added.
The president has turned over control of his business empire to sons Don Jr. and Eric, but he insisted Monday that he didn’t have to. “Many presidents — there weren’t too many really rich presidents, but there were a few — ran their businesses [while in office].”
Among them, he falsely claims, was President Barack Obama, who he said served as president while signing a book deal and a contract with Netflix.
Obama agreed to both of those deals after he left the White House.
“Other presidents were wealthy. Not huge wealth … but they ran their businesses,” Trump said. “George Washington, they say, had two desks. He had a presidential desk and a business desk.”
The president then turned his attention to a months-old Washington Post report that said financially speaking, the Doral resort has been “severely underperforming” since Trump launched his bid for the White House in 2015.
Trump said when he was running the resort, “there was nothing like it. It was making a fortune. Then what happened? I announced I was going to run for office.”
“Then I say, ‘We’re going to build a wall. We’ve got to have borders. We’ve got to do this and we’ve got to do that … and all of a sudden, some people didn’t like it. They thought the rhetoric was too tough … and it went from doing great .. to doing fine.”
“I knew this would happen,” Trump assured the reporters in the room. “Because now, instead of having 100% of the market that loves you and love your brand … Now you have 50% of the market. That’s called politics. I fully understood that.
“If I had it to do again, I would do it again in an instant, because, who cares if you can afford it?” the president said. “What difference does it make? I’m making a big difference for the country.”
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