President Donald Trump told reporters at the G-7 summit in France today that he is likely to hold next year’s summit at Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami, FL. While many news outlets initially reporting Trump’s remarks mentioned that he would personally profit from holding such an event at his resort since he hasn’t divested from his businesses, Reuters, The Hill, and Fox News failed to include this important context in their reporting.
Reuters’ report about Trump’s comments simply repeated the president’s boasts of the resort’s location being close to the Miami airport and his complaints of being shuttled to conference locations at previous G-7 summits by another flight. Reuters later updated the article to include Trump's dubious claim that “he would not personally profit from the resort's selection.”
The Hill reported that Trump’s Doral golf resort is “a contender” to host next year’s G-7 summit and that Trump “indicated it was a strong possibility.”
And during a Fox & Friends First segment, White House correspondent Kevin Corke said the 2020 G-7 summit “will likely take place in Miami” and noted only that Trump “has a resort in Doral, in Miami.”
None of these reports informed their audiences that Trump stands to line his own pockets by hosting the G-7 summit at one of his properties, as Washington Post reporters Josh Dawsey and David Fahrenthold explained in their piece, writing that Trump “personally profit from one of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of foreign leaders.”
Trump has not divested from his private business interests and has regularly visited them during the presidency, eating out at his own hotel in the District and spending many weekends at his properties in New Jersey and Florida, where GOP officials often hold fundraisers.
In all, his scores of trips to his properties have brought his private businesses at least $1.6 million in revenue, from federal officials and GOP campaigns who pay to go where Trump goes, according to a Washington Post analysis this year.
The Miami Herald reported on July 31 that Trump’s Doral resort has faced financial difficulty since he became president and that hosting the G-7 there could turn things around for it:
President Donald Trump is considering his own Trump National Doral resort to host the Group of Seven summit in 2020, according to numerous media reports. It wouldn’t be the first time Miami has served as the backdrop for a U.S. president’s meeting with foreign leaders. But it would be the first time the host president stands to gain financially from the venue.
It raises questions about whether the event is being used as a way to get his Miami property out of a financial rut.
Hosting the G7 Summit — consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — at any of his properties would exacerbate 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.
Trump’s presidency so far seems to have harmed Trump Doral’s bottom line. In a meeting with a magistrate for the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board in December 2018, a consultant hired by the Trump Organization said the hotel is “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.
If the financial impact of hosting foreign leaders at Mar-a-Lago is any indication, an international event like the G7 could be just the thing Trump needs to turn the 643-room Doral hotel around.
The event itself will generate significant revenue for whatever venue hosts it, including catering fees, as well as room and equipment rentals.
In later remarks to reporters, Trump lied that he wouldn’t “make any money” if his Doral resort hosted next year’s G-7 summit. Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent also noted that the president “gave another extended advertisement” for holding the next summit at his property and linked to his article calling on Congress to investigate Trump’s efforts to enrich himself through the presidency.