Under pressure for what critics said would create a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution‘s emoluments clause — which prohibits a president, or any federal official, from taking gifts or payments from foreign governments — Donald Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to announce that he was scrapping his plan to host the 2020 G7 summit meeting at his own Trump National Doral resort, just outside of Miami, Florida.
Critics had been horrified by Trump’s plan to host the summit, attended by world leaders of seven major industrial democracies, at his own for-profit property. Writing for Slate, legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern called Trump’s G7 plan “worthy of impeachment all on its own.”
Trump’s decision to award the multimillion-dollar contract for the G7 summit to himself “is so obviously corrupt, so shameless and extortionary, that it seems strange to debate whether it is also unlawful,” Stern wrote.
Trump, in his Twitter message, blamed “the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners” for his change of plans — plans that were announced in a Thursday press conference by Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, as The Inquisitr reported.
But in the tweets, Trump claimed that he was willing host the meeting of world leaders “at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
Trump’s own history, however, appears to contradict his claim that he would have been willing to personally absorb the costs of the hosting the summit, or at minimum earn no profit for his company off the event.
For about a decade, Trump’s son, Eric, used Trump golf courses to host children’s cancer charity events for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The younger Trump claimed at the time that his father’s company was providing use of the golf resorts for free, allowing larger sums of money to go to the charity than if the golf events were hosted elsewhere, according to a Forbes Magazine report.
But according to Forbes, the events were not free at all. In fact, Trump not only billed his own son’s charitable foundation for holding the golf events — he charged them well beyond market rates, more than $1.2 million.
“Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament,” wrote Forbes reporter Dan Alexander.
But the alleged self-dealing didn’t end there, according to Alexander’s investigation. Rather than donating all of the money raised at the events to St. Jude Children’s hospital, at least $500,000 was diverted to other charities directly connected to Trump or Trump’s family members.
Four groups that received money that was supposed to go to the children’s cancer charity actually went to groups that later paid to hold events at Trump golf courses, according to Forbes, in effect channelling the money raised for charity back into Trump’s own business.
House Democrats had already introduced a bill to condemn Trump’s plan to hold the G7 Summit at his own property, according to CBS News.