MIAMI — President Donald Trump changed his mind about hosting a summit of world leaders at his own resort in Doral after being “surprised at the level of push-back” to last week’s announcement, his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday.
Mulvaney, speaking during an interview Sunday morning with Fox’s Chris Wallace, said Trump “thinks people think it looks lousy” that he chose Trump National Doral Miami as the host site for next summer’s G-7 summit.
Mulvaney called Trump’s sudden change of course — announced by the president on Twitter Saturday evening — “the right decision.”
“He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney said. “He still considers himself to be in the hospitality business and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, best visit he possibly could. He was very confident doing that at Doral.”
Trump’s tweets were a stunning reversal for a president who rarely backs down from a fight.
Mulvaney announced Thursday that the Trump administration had chosen the president’s own resort in Miami-Dade County to host the G-7. Mulvaney, who made the announcement during a hastily planned press briefing in Washington, told reporters that scouts had reviewed as many as a dozen locations and settled on Trump’s Doral hotel as the best site.
Mulvaney said Trump was the one who initially suggested his Doral resort as the host site.
The administration’s announcement on Thursday was received with broad bipartisan criticism _ from Republicans as well as from Democratic members, who swiftly vowed to add the case to a sweeping federal lawsuit accusing the president of repeatedly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The controversy added pressure to a president also fending off an impeachment investigation and criticism from his own party about his diplomacy in Syria and efforts to broker a cease fire with Turkey.
At 9:18 p.m. Saturday, Trump began a series of three tweets explaining that he would no longer consider his resort as a host site, blaming Democrats and the media. He announced he was taking his property off the table shortly before 10 p.m.
“I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders,” Trump wrote. “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
“But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!” he continued. “Therefore, 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.”