This past week, the Trump administration announced that some time after President Donald Trump himself first suggested as much, the next G7 summit of world leaders would officially be held at Trump’s own Miami golf resort. The wave of criticism has intensified over the president using his position to directly make himself money like this, and this week on MSNBC, host Stephanie Ruhle explained some of the most nefarious details of the arrangement. In short, the set-up is poised to pour money from world leaders, their entourages, and American taxpayers themselves into the president’s business’s bank account.
Initially, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney claimed — besides the deeply questionable idea that the Trump resort just happened to be the best one to use — that the president would make no money from the event because it would be held at cost. In short, that’s nonsense.
‘I woke up this morning to calls from former administration officials and hotel developers that said, ‘I can’t listen to this for one more minute.’ For Mick Mulvaney to say the president is not going to profit, he’ll be doing this at cost — what does “at cost” mean? In the month of June, you tell me, are you vacationing at a golf resort in Miami? Miami is absolutely dead in the month of June. Costs are already sunk… Now the G-7 summit will take place there and they’ll make a whole lot of money. For Mulvaney to say the president is not going to be making money, he’s doing it at cost, is absolutely disingenuous.’
That’s not where the story ends! Ruhle pointed out that for preparations surrounding the G7 summit, U.S. authorities will have to develop new amenities like helipads and other additional accommodations for those who will be attending. Since the venue they’ve chosen is one with the president’s own name on it, that means that American taxpayers will be paying to spruce up a Trump-branded golf course — and G7 summits are no small affair. Costs are likely to be high.
Besides noting that a former administration official told her the resort will probably be packed for a whopping 50 to 100 nights thanks to preparation needs, Ruhle noted:
‘When they put, for example, helipads down on the golf course, they need to be removed after. When they’re removed, guess what’s going to need to happen? Renovate that golf course — paid for by taxpayers.’
Former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub insisted on Twitter:
‘There is no legitimate definition of corruption that wouldn’t cover the president participating in a government contract award to himself. If that isn’t corruption, the very concept of corruption does not exist.’
Trump has poured money into his golf courses before, although not on this scale. Still, every time he takes a weekend off to go to one of his courses, massive costs pile up, including some payments that go directly to his business — which he still, even as president, has a financial stake in. He’s making money from the presidency, or at least trying to.