(ABC NEWS) — The United States plans to host next year’s Group of Seven, or G-7, summit at the president’s Trump National Doral Miami resort, White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday.
The selection of a resort owned by the president’s own company is certain to draw criticism from Democrats in Congress who have criticized Trump’s mixing of personal and official business. In August, when reports first emerged that the Doral, Florida, club could host next year’s summit, and Trump voiced support for the idea, the House Judiciary Committee said it would investigate the proposal.
Asked about the reports, Trump told reporters that holding the summit in Miami would be “really fantastic” and that his club would be ideal because it was near Miami’s international airport and because each country could have its own “bungalow.”
“With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings — we call them bungalows,” Trump said, speaking at the site of the most recent G-7 summit, in Biarritz, France. “They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It’s like — it’s like such a natural — we wouldn’t even have to do the work that they did here.”
Trump said he was “not at all” concerned about the ethical implications of using a diplomatic gathering to promote a club run by his own company. He said the U.S. Secret Service and the military were involved in the selection process, and that 12 sites had been under consideration.
It would not be the first time the president has used a Trump property to host world leaders. China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have both joined him at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, also in South Florida. Trump’s visits to that resort — which he frequents in the winters — have also come under scrutiny from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
When Trump discussed Doral in August, focus turned to a previous case of bedbugs at the resort. The president at the time criticized Democrats for spreading what he called a “false and nasty rumor,” tweeting, “No bedbugs at Doral.”
But in fact, a possible bedbug infestation was the subject of a 2016 lawsuit, in which a New Jersey man who sued for $15,000 in damages alleging that he woke up covered in bites and sores after a night in one of the resort’s villas. In a court filing responding to the lawsuit, lawyers for the resort denied all of the allegations. The resort settled the suit out of court.