Mulvaney's missteps draw scrutiny from Trump allies

Monday, 21 Oct, 2019

Trump announced on Saturday night that he was scrapping the plans and suggested he might consider Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland instead.

Donald Trump was the first one to officially float the idea of hosting the summit at the Trump National Doral as he praised the facilities it provided and it being close to the Miami International airport and this led to the Democrats and other groups berating the president was using his position to increase his personal wealth.

The critics included Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a man normally highly deferential to the president, who in a Washington Post op-ed called the move a "grave strategic mistake", and Trump loyalist Senator Lindsey Graham, who said America's Kurdish allies had been "shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration". Mulvaney, backed by his staff, stated that it was by far the best property to host leaders' from different parts of the world.

In yet another egregious example, Trump's property in Doonbeg, Ireland, charged the Irish government €14,000 (approximately $15,600) for snacks provided to the Irish police force who were required to be at the resort to protect the president during one of his visits.

The White House had said the event would be run "at cost", or without profit by the Trump Organization because of the emoluments clause of the Constitution that prohibits the president from accepting gifts and money from foreign governments.

In his Fox interview Sunday, Mulvaney again insisted there was no quid pro quo in Trump's dealings with Ukraine. "His reversal of that decision is a bow to reality, but does not change how astonishing it was that a president ever thought this was appropriate, or that it was something he could get away with".

Michael Steel, a former aide to House GOP leaders, said it was a singularly bad time to ask Republicans to defend an "indefensible" decision to hold the G-7 at one of Trump's for-profit properties.

Trump blamed the media and Democrats for having to make the switch.

When host Chris Wallace pushed back that the president was no longer in hospitality and was now serving as president, Mulvaney dismissed it.

Trump National Doral Golf Course near Miami opened in 1962 and consists of 800 acres. After considering locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, Doral was selected, Mulvaney said.

On Friday, new legislation to block the plan was introduced by Democrats in Congress, who have already opened an impeachment investigation into allegations that the president pressured Ukraine into interfering on his behalf in the 2020 USA election.

The U.S.is responsible for hosting next year's G-7 summit and Mr. Trump indicated at the most recent G-7 summit in France that he wanted to hold it at his own private club in Florida. Republicans hold a slim majority there, enough to block Trump's removal unless several Republicans defect. "It was way too small. He's president of the United States", the Fox newsman said.

Mr. Trump has maintained ownership of his business empire after becoming president, though he turned over day-to-day operations to his children.