Two days after Trump reversed his plan to host next year’s G-7 at his Doral golf resort, President Trump on Monday dismissed criticism that his plan would have led to an ethics violation.
“You people with this phony Emoluments Clause,” Trump said to reporters at the White House during a Cabinet meeting, referring to the constitutional clause that prohibits government officials from receiving gifts or contributions from foreign governments.
While offering a lengthy defense why he picked his Doral resort near Miami to host next year’s G-7 summit, Trump lashed out amid questions about the backlash to his earlier decision. Trump insisted that he would not have profited off hosting world leaders: “It would have been the best G-7 ever,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting, adding that he felt the eventual location would not be as good. Trump also criticized former President Obama for his book deal and contract with Netflix (both of which, however, were agreed to after Obama had left the White House).
“I would have given it for nothing,” he said. “The Democrats went crazy, even though I would have done it free.”
It wasn’t just democrats, however, and as the WSJ reported this morning, some Republicans also expressed unease with the decision, viewing it as difficult to defend during an impeachment inquiry targeting Trump and shortly after the president’s withdrawal of troops from northern Syria.
Trump compares himself to George Washington and calls the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution phony. pic.twitter.com/47ADkzWfAJ
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 21, 2019
Trump reportedly made the decision to pick a new G-7 summit location following a call with Republicans on Saturday, in which he appeared to suggest that because he is rich, the Emoluments clause does not apply to him; additionally Trump repeated a frequent lament, saying that it has cost him “anywhere from $2 to $5 Billion to be president between what I lose and what I could have made”. It was unclear where he got those numbers.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by congressional Democrats alleging Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause is working its way through the court system.