Initial reports that the Trump administration will host the 2020 G-7 conference at President Donald Trump’s Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida, failed to directly state that it is a corrupt act that will line the president’s pockets with taxpayer and possibly foreign government money. Instead, many outlets treated the obvious corruption as merely a claim from Trump’s critics.
Early Thursday afternoon, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced to reporters that the administration has selected Trump’s National Doral Miami resort to host as the location of the 2020 G-7 summit, which will host numerous world leaders. Trump had suggested in August that the summit might held at his resort property. On July 31, the Miami Herald reported that Trump’s Doral resort has faced financial difficulty since he became president and hosting the G-7 summit there could turn around its finances. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold suggested that Trump was desperate for additional income at his Doral resort.
Progressive journalists Rachel Cohen of The Intercept and Brian Beutler of Crooked Media immediately highlighted a problem in the earliest media coverage of the news, which framed the corruption inherent in this move as criticism from “ethics watchdogs” or other actors.
Multiple news outlets framed their initial reporting in a similar way. An Associated Press article reported, “The idea of holding the event at Trump’s resort has been criticized by government ethics watchdogs.” The Hill’s write-up stated, “The decision is certain to spark challenges from Democrats and ethics watchdog groups who will argue that the president is seeking to enrich his family's brand by bringing world leaders to a Trump property.” USA Today wrote the move derived “condemnation from lawmakers and the president's critics who said he is again using public duties for personal gain.” The New York Times’ report said it “is almost sure to alarm ethics watchdogs and critics of the administration who would see an immediate conflict of interest.” A CNN.com article stated: “President Donald Trump is sure to receive criticism and will face questions about whether he stands to profit financially from the large summit.”
On August 26, when Trump said he was considering hosting the G-7 summit at his Doral resort, Fox News, The Hill, and Reuters all initially failed to mention that he would personally profit from such a move.