Trump Was Right to Scrap Plans to Hold G-7 Summit at Doral

October 21, 2019 Updated: October 22, 2019

Commentary

President Donald Trump recently announced that the upcoming G-7 summit will no longer be held at his golf resort in Florida.

The president had initially planned to hold the summit at that location at no benefit to himself, but reversed course after Democrats cried foul and alleged that such conduct violated such things as the emoluments clause.

While the emoluments question is a bit risky in this case, the president’s decision to hold the G-7 summit elsewhere was the right one.

Initially, the G-7 summit was scheduled to take place at the president’s own resort in Doral, Florida. The president repeatedly assured everyone that he wouldn’t be profiting by holding the summit at his resort. As a matter of fact, the resort would provide its services at cost, which would, therefore, be cheaper than other venues.

In response, some Democrats immediately accused the president of ethical violations and possible emolument clause violations due to the president potentially profiting from hosting the summit at his resort. Due to the hysteria and Democratic outcry, the president decided to change the location of the event, stating on Twitter:

“[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. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”

The president’s decision to change the location of the summit was the right move for several reasons.

First, the question of a potential emolument violation is a bit dicey, although not likely. The purpose behind the Emoluments Clause (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution) was to prevent anyone in office from receiving benefits that were payable by reason of their government employment (position).

On the one hand, the president could obviously assert that he owned and profited from this property long before he became president and that he would continue to do so after his presidency. Moreover, he agreed not to make any profit if the summit was held at Doral.

While the president’s position appears fairly strong, it’s not entirely without risk. For example, unlike the situation in which the president profits when someone (i.e., a foreign national or individual) rents a room at one of his hotels in the United States or abroad, the use of the property in Doral is for an official government event and at the president’s suggestion. Therefore, given that the stay would be directly tied to an official government event, this could possibly satisfy the “by reason of their government employment” aspect of any potential violation of the emoluments clause.

Of course, any potential violation would still require showing that the president profited by virtue of holding the summit at the Doral resort, which would be more difficult given his assurance that he wouldn’t profit from the summit and the fact that he owned and profited from this property before he became president.

Aside from the possible legal battles associated with holding the summit in Doral, the president simply doesn’t need to add anything else to his plate at this time.

He is currently facing an unprecedented and relentless “impeachment inquiry” by the House and is fighting off multiple investigations, all of which are aimed to remove him from office. Most importantly, he also has to run the country. Therefore, while he didn’t have to move the location of the summit, he correctly decided that this wasn’t a battle worth fighting.

There are clearly other quality locations at which to hold the summit, and it’s simply not worth the time, money, and effort to fight this particular issue.

Sadly, yet not necessarily surprisingly, two Democratic presidential hopefuls attacked the president, despite his decision to move the summit to a different location.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stated in a series of tweets:

“The G7 may no longer be at Trump National Doral, but that won’t stop foreign nations from dumping money into Donald Trump’s pockets by spending at his hotels. And it won’t stop Trump from rewarding Mar-a-Lago members with ambassadorships.”

“Trump is corruption in the flesh.”

In addition, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro wrote on Twitter:

“Trying to be a complete crook of a politician didn’t quite work out for him this time, but I’m sure he’s not done trying. We need integrity back in the Oval Office.”

These statements provide a small glimpse into Trump’s life as president, which includes continued and baseless attacks that are aimed at removing him from office. As is evident, those who are against the president will attack him whenever they can.

For this reason, he should be selective about his battles and shouldn’t add fuel to the fire on issues that aren’t pressing. The location of the summit was one of those nonpressing issues.

His decision not to fight it was the right one.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications. 

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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