He knew that he invited criticism by selecting his own luxury golf club in Miami for the organization of a world leaders meeting at the Group 7 summit in June, President Trump told his adjutants who were against the election and he was prepared for the inevitable attack of the democrats.
But what Mr. Trump was unprepared for was the reaction of the Republicans, who said that his election to the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line and they could not defend it.
So, Mr. Trump did something that might not have been surprising to a President who was facing impeachment, but unusual for him: He returned on Saturday night and abruptly ended the upheaval two days earlier by announcing his decision was triggered by Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff.
The President first heard the criticism of his election of Doral, who watched television, where even some Fox News personalities declined. On Saturday afternoon, his concern had heightened as he called Camp David, where Mulvaney received moderate congressional republicans to discuss issues, including impeachment. He was told to turn back. These moderates are among the votes that Mr. Trump would have to hold during an impeachment trial.
"I did not see it as a big negative, but it was certainly not a positive," said Peter T. King of New York, one of them at Camp David. He said the group had told Mr. Trump's aides that sticking to the decision "would be a distraction."
With many members already dissatisfied with the impact of the President's plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Democrats pushing their impeachment investigation, Republicans on Capitol Hill demand not necessarily defend the adequacy of the president's decision to hold the group's meeting 7 in one of his own buildings.
"I think there were big concerns," said representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the Republican leadership team. "I am not sure that people questioned the lawfulness, but it was clearly a casual political mistake."
Mr. Cole said he had not spoken directly with the President, but he was relieved that Mr. Trump had changed his mind, and was certain that other Republicans thought the same way. "We just did not need that," he said.
By late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump had made his decision, but he was waiting to announce the reversal by that night in two tweets, separated by a pause he made for the opening of Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program see.
"I thought I would do something very good for our country by hosting Trump National Doral in Miami as host to the G-7 leaders," wrote Trump on Twitter before returning for the resort advertised amenities. "But as always, the enemy media and their democratic partners have gone crazy!"
Mr. Trump added : "Because of this, we Trump National Doral, Miami, based on media and Democrat madness and irrational hostility, will no longer be the venue for the G-7 in 2020 consider."
Mr. Trump suggested Camp David, the rustic, official presidential retreat that Mr. Mulvaney had vilified as an option when he announced the election of Doral. But Mr. Mulvaney said that the president was open in his disappointment.
The President's reaction "in the tweet was real," Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday." "The president is not the one who holds back his feelings and emotions about something." He was genuinely surprised at the extent of the pushback. "
Mr. Trump's misfortune may also extend to Mr Mulvaney, who at his press conference on Thursday – whose scheduled topic was the summit election at the hotel – essentially acknowledged that the President had in return for talks with Ukrainian officials.
But Mr. Trump's advisors were stunned. The President has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with Mr. Mulvaney to others, and recently contacted Nick Ayers, a former adjutant of Vice President Mike Pence, to find out if he was interested in returning, according to two people who said that Close to presidents. Mr. Ayers is unlikely to return to Washington, but the conversation speaks in favor of Mr. Trump's thinking at a time when some consultants ask him to make a change, and several people close to the president said Mr. Mulvaney was not helped myself last week.
Mr. Mulvaney admitted in Fox News that this was all avoidable. "It has come to my notice that if we had decided on Thursday not to proceed with the Doral, we would not hold a press conference on Thursday on anything else, but that's fine," Mulvaney said. At another point, he acknowledged that his press conference was not "perfect."
Many consultants said that Mr. Trump – a real estate developer for whom the presidency sometimes seems like his second instead of his first job – had an understandable job motivation for the election of Doral: He wanted to show his property to a worldwide audience.
"At the end of the day," Mr. Mulvaney said on Sunday, "he still sees himself in the hospitality industry, and he saw an opportunity to meet the greatest executives from around the world, and he wanted the absolute best show, the
In a statement, an official of the Trump Organization, the president's private firm, reiterated Trump's disappointment and his claim that American taxpayers had lost a lot.
"Trump Doral has one "The spokesman said," This is a perfect example of how no good deed goes unpunished – it's likely to cost the US government ten times the amount we would have done at cost, or it's free paid into the US, if legally permissible. "
But legal experts said the declaration itself showed how Mr. Trump and his family have fundamentally misunderstood the ethical issues raised by his election.
At least the role of the President in directing business into his own resort collided with his promise to withdraw from anything that had to do with his property 10 days before his swearing-in.
"My two sons, Don and Eric, will run the company," Trump said, referring to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. "They will manage it very professionally. You will not discuss it with me.
And, as the president had expected, the selection triggered a wave of criticism from Democrats and ethics experts.
However, it has also been criticized by conservative jurists who were already uncomfortable with a series of White House measures, including pressure on Ukrainian officials, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden.
"It's really just that he asks the country to pay him," said Paul Rosenzweig, an official of the Department of Homeland Security at the George W. Bush Administration, who is now Senior Fellow at the conservative R Street Institute. 19659028] "It just can not be justified."
With decades of efforts by other foreign governments to combat corruption, legal experts have threatened to affect the United States' position worldwide. Jessica Tillipman, an attorney specializing in American law known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ,
"This is no different from any other corrupt leader in an oil-rich African country who is taking money from the government and taxpayers." she said.
In the past, Presidents and their top advisors played a major role in selecting the group of 7 locations, former State Department officials said, citing Ronald Reagan's role in selecting Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1 983 and the first election of George Bush for Houston in 1990.
But the White House has typically selected only the host city, not the hotels . This has traditionally been left to the State Department, said Peter A. Selfridge, chief of protocol of the State Department during the Obama administration.
The event was attended by up to 7,000 people, including security personnel, news media, diplomats, and heads of state and support staff, a total price that may amount to hundreds of millions of dollars after security has been incorporated.
The host government usually covers the cost of 20 hotel rooms per country – but that's the beginning According to a second former State Department official
academics that deal with the history of the Group 7 gatherings The president has effectively tried to force the world's leaders to pay his family's money in a resort of the head of state.
"That was unprecedented," said John Kirton, professor of political science at the University of Toronto and the director of the G7 research group, who is investigating these gatherings. "That was amazing and embarrassing for the United States."
Mr. Selfridge said Mr. Trump's perhaps most confusing decision to choose the resort outside of Miami was the idea of welcoming the world leaders to a hot, humid and unwelcome spot in June.
Like picking northern Minnesota in the middle of winter, "he said. "They would not want to be there then."
Maggie Haberman reported from New York, and Eric Lipton and Katie Rogers from Washington. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported from Washington.