Politics

Trump claims 'heat' from Democrats led to big backtrack on Doral G-7 summit — others say GOP queasiness did

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump claimed "too much heat from the Do Nothing Radical Left Democrats" and the "Fake News Media" led to his reversal of the decision to host next year's G-7 summit at his Trump National Doral Miami resort.
  • But several reports said it was a negative reaction among moderate congressional Republicans — not Democrats — to the idea that spurred Trump's about-face.
  • That GOP reception was problematic because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
VIDEO3:0903:09
Trump rails against 'phony Emoluments Clause' amid scrapped G7 plans

How's this for Miami "heat"?

President Donald Trump on Monday claimed "too much heat from the Do Nothing Radical Left Democrats" and the "Fake News Media" sparked his abrupt decision to no longer host next year's G-7 summit at his own Miami golf resort just two days after his chief of staff announced the pick.

But several reports said it was a negative reaction among moderate congressional Republicans — not Democrats — to the idea that spurred the president to reverse the selection of the Trump National Doral Miami.

That GOP reception was particularly problematic for Trump because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, reports said.

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday sparked controversy with the announcement of Doral as the site of June's summit of elite world leaders.

During the same news conference, Mulvaney admitted that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine by withholding congressionally appropriated military aid for that country even as he was asking its newly elected president for an investigation of a conspiracy theory that the Democratic National Committee framed Russia for the hacking of DNC computers, and that Ukrainian officials were involved in a cover-up of the scheme.

Mulvaney since has claimed he did not say there was such a quid pro quo.

Democrats blasted the choice of Doral, saying Trump would be profiting from the summit, despite claims by Mulvaney that goods and services would be provided "at cost" to attendees.

A number of Republican lawmakers also publicly expressed displeasure with the move, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. However, Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said, referring to Trump's choice of Doral, "It may seem careless politically, but on the other hand there's tremendous integrity in his boldness and his transparency."

VIDEO2:4702:47
President Trump reverses decision to hold 2020 G-7 Summit at Doral resort

Hours after the announcement, three Democratic senators sent Trump administration officials a letter asking for information about the process that led to the Doral's selection.

And on Friday, a congressional staffer said the House would vote this week on a resolution condemning the selection.

In a dramatic turn Saturday night, though, Trump announced on Twitter that "we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020." He blamed what he said was "both Media and Democrat and Irrational Hostility."

The Trump administration now has to find another site for the summit.

But The New York Times later reported that when he first selected the Doral, Trump told aides opposed to the choice that "he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats."

But Trump's concerns about reaction to the Doral pick had grown by Saturday afternoon when "he put a call into Camp David [the presidential getaway in Maryland] where Mr. Mulvaney was hosting moderate congressional Republicans for a discussion of issues facing them, including impeachment, and was told the consensus was he should reverse himself."

"Those moderates are among the votes Mr. Trump would need to stick with him during an impeachment," the Times reported.

The ongoing impeachment probe is focused on the belief that Trump was pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate the DNC hacking theory as well as former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2020.

The Washington Post reported that Trump's reversal came "after it became clear the move had alienated Republicans and swiftly become part of the impeachment inquiry that threatens his presidency."

"In a round of phone calls with conservative allies this weekend, Trump was told Republicans are struggling to defend him on so many fronts, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters," the Post reported.

Trump's son, Eric Trump, who heads the Trump Organization with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., in a prepared statement issued to NBC News said: "Trump Doral would have made an incredible location and venue."

"This is a perfect example of no good deed goes unpunished. It will likely end up costing the U.S. government 10 times the amount elsewhere, as we would have either done it at cost or contributed it to the United States for free if legally allowed," Eric Trump said.