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Trump says Miami will probably host next year’s G7 summit — at his Doral resort

The United States is scheduled to host the G7 next summer,
Donald Trump signs autographs during the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament on March 6, 2016, in Doral. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) [WILFREDO LEE  |  AP]
Donald Trump signs autographs during the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament on March 6, 2016, in Doral. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) [WILFREDO LEE | AP]
Published Aug. 26, 2019
Updated Aug. 26, 2019

Greater Miami is likely to host next year’s G7 summit of world leaders — and President Donald Trump now says his own Doral resort is a good bet to be the home site.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday from France, which is hosting the ongoing Group of 7 summit, Trump acknowledged for the first time that he may select his flagship property for the annual gathering of the world’s most powerful people.

“They love the location of the hotel,” Trump said following a sit-down with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The United States is scheduled to host the G7 next summer, which will fall during the summer leading into Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. The president described Trump National Doral Miami as a strong host contender, according to an early morning dispatch from a White House pool reporter covering the summit in France.

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Trump attributed the interest in his own 643-room resort — known for weeks to be under consideration — to its proximity to Miami International Airport, about a nine-mile drive from the hotel.

“We haven’t found anything that’s even close to competing with it,” he said. “Really, you can be there in a matter of minutes after you land.”

Hosting the G7 summit — consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — could be a boon to the struggling resort, which Trump purchased out of bankruptcy in 2012 for $150 million. Hosting dignitaries at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach has already proven profitable for the president’s winter White House, and could help boost Trump’s Doral property, which has seen its membership and income slip since Trump became president.

But doing so would also likely ramp up claims that Trump is profiting from the presidency in violation of the so-called Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Trump is already facing lawsuits over similar allegations, primarily about his hotel in Washington, D.C.

House Democrats have launched a series of investigations into the president’s administration, and the House Oversight Committee is focusing on Trump’s decision not to divest himself of his assets.

“Potential Emoluments Clause violations could include foreign government officials who buy up entire floors of hotel rooms, pay higher rents at Trump Tower, lower interest rates on loans, speed up permits for development projects, or take all kinds of other inappropriate actions to ingratiate themselves with the new Administration,” reads a statement on the House Oversight Committee’s web page.

Like many Trump-branded properties, Trump National Doral is administered by the Trump Organization — a private group of companies run by the president’s adult sons while Trump is serving in the Oval Office. Per the agreement with his sons, Trump can pull any amount of money from the organization’s coffers at any time, according to statements by the Trump Organization’s attorney to ProPublica.

Trump’s Doral hotel — which he visited for the first time as president in June — has been among his most profitable assets. But it has been less of a moneymaker since he became president: Trump reported that he made $76 million from the Doral resort and golf club in 2018, down from $116 million in 2016.

In a December 2018 meeting with a magistrate for the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board, which considers property tax appeals, a consultant hired by the Trump Organization said the hotel was “severely under-performing.” The consultant cited lower occupancy and room rates at the Doral hotel compared to its competitors and an 18 percent slump in revenue from 2015 to 2017 as reasons to lower the property’s value.

The PGA Tour, which served as the resort’s major event for more than half a century, left in 2016 amid Trump’s highly polarizing presidential campaign and after Cadillac reduced its sponsorship. The Miami Heat pulled its golf tournament from the Trump Doral resort in 2017 after four straight years there.

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