US President Donald Trump has reversed his plan to hold the next G7 world leaders’ meeting at his golf resort next year after his announcement sparked corruption accusations.
Trump announced a rare backtrack on Saturday night after facing accusations that he was using the presidency to enrich himself by hosting the international summit at a private resort owned by his family.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had announced the venue for the summit on Thursday, causing a firestorm among Trump’s Democratic opponents in Congress, who called the move “among the most brazen examples yet of the president’s corruption”.
“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,” the president tweeted.
“We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”
Mulvaney had said the south Florida venue was “the best place” among a dozen US locations considered for the June 10 to 12 gathering next year.
An hour before Trump’s announcement, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned the selection of Doral for the summit.
“Hosting the G7 at Trump’s hotel? A president should never be able to use the office for personal gain,” the former vice president said.
Critics, including ethic campaigners, said holding the event at Doral would violate both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses that are designed to shield a US leader from outside influence.
“He is exploiting his office and making official US government decisions for his personal financial gain,” Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement following the Thursday announcement.
On Thursday, Mulvaney had discounted Camp David, the government-owned presidential retreat, as the site for the summit, saying: “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.