WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump dropped plans to hold an international summit at his Doral resort in Florida after realizing “it looks lousy” to steer business to his own property, his acting chief of staff said Sunday.
Mick Mulvaney said Trump was “honestly surprised by the level of pushback” against his choice of Doral for next year’s Group of Seven gathering.
He added in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business” and “wanted to put on the absolute best show.”
But he added: “I think he knows, people think it looks lousy.”
Trump announced a rare backtrack Saturday night after facing accusations that he was using the presidency to enrich himself by hosting the international summit at the private resort owned by his family.
“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,” Trump tweeted. He said his administration “will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”
But on Thursday, Mulvaney had discounted Camp David, the government-owned presidential retreat, as the site for the summit, claiming, “I understand the folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to have the G-7.” He added that it was too small and remote for the international summit.
Mulvaney listed more than a half dozen states visited in the screening, including Tennessee, North Carolina, Hawaii and Utah. But convention, economic development and tourism officials in several of those states said they were unaware of any visits, and some didn’t even know their state was in the running.
Governor David Ige’s office confirmed, a “general search” had been done in Hawaii, but didn’t think any specific site had been considered.
In Utah, where Mulvaney said two places had made a final list of four sites, the governor’s office said it was not aware any venue there was under serious consideration.