Terry H. Schwadron
Oct. 21, 2019
I don’t get it.
Donald Trump’s Saturday night tweet that he was bowing to public criticism and would no longer offer his Doral resort for next June’s G-7 summit meetings sounded like he was actually listening to others.
Specifically, Trump blamed the Hostile Media and their Democratic Partners for criticism that changed his mind.
More likely, Trump seems to change his mind every other day on Doral, on cooperation with Congress, over whether to actually withdraw U.S. troops from the Middle East, a turnaround just last night.
The idea that the media and Democrats were enough to switch his thinking about Doral would be true every day over issues ranging from immigration to health care to calling foreign leaders and demanding that they find dirt on political foes.
No, there is something else here.
Donald Trump doesn’t listen to the Hostile Media and their Democratic Partners.
How about law — do you think a White House lawyer might have mentioned to Trump that he was violating federal law and the U.S. Constitution? How about enough Republicans whispering into his ear that he was setting up another change on an impeachment docket? Maybe even word from the Doral that they couldn’t be sure they wouldn’t have bedbugs next summer?
Admittedly, we’ve been so buffeted by Trump policies that actually hurt people that this whole nonsense of awarding himself a no-bid federal contract to satisfy his resort-soaked ego that this particular mess seems to be more a way that Trump operates than it does an insult to the Constitution.
By contrast, Trump is expected to invite Vladimir Putin to rejoin the G-7 no matter where they happen to meet now. That strikes me as a far worse insult to American (and G-7 partner) values than whether the executive limousines have to travel an extra half hour to reach a plush meeting place.
It is just as bad that the fact that Trump uses these international leadership meetings to ignore actual worldwide problems, ranging from Climate Change to our abrupt withdrawal from Syria, triggering Turkish ethnic cleansing efforts against our own allies to unquestioned support for a murderous Saudi regime.
Hey, if Trump is now suddenly going to start listening to criticism, perhaps we can put something more substantial on the unhappiness-with-the-White House plate than breaking the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Of course, it is true that the Trump National Doral Miami resort has struggled financially since the president took office, with its net operating income falling 69% over the past two years. And that despite Trump’s claims that he wouldn’t “profit” from the G-7, the president doesn’t acknowledge how such a major global event would give his resort lots of free advertising and would likely drive up business — to say nothing of providing business during the summer slump.
It also is true that the House Judiciary Committee had been looking into the president’s plans to host the summit at Doral for some time as part of its ongoing investigations of Trump. The Oversight Committees demanded the administration and Trump’s company release details about both the president’s call to host a G-7 summit at Doral and Vice President Mike Pence’s recent stay at a Trump resort in Ireland. Those requests have been ignored. Bills have been introduced in both House and Senate to block funds for the gathering at the Doral. But there was also public criticism from Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, (R-Utah), and others.
Politico noted that Trump talks up his resorts with foreign leaders all the time. As president, Trump has met with leaders of at least 10 countries where he has a property or is developing one, including Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Canada, Ireland, Panama, Dominican Republic and the United Arab Emirates. China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea have state-owned companies developing new Trump resorts.
Trump has invited the leaders of seven countries — Japan, China, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic — to meet with him at Mar-a-Lago, the resort he has dubbed the Winter White House.
As president, Trump has met with leaders of at least 10 countries where he has a property or is developing one: Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Canada, Ireland, Panama, Dominican Republic and the United Arab Emirates, according to his schedules.
All of it has drawn lots of criticism, whether from the Hostile Media, which merely reports on the visits as well as the criticism, or from Democrats, ethcists or even from whispering Republicans.
If Trump is the rough, tough, only-me president that he says he is, why is a little criticism enough reason to overturn his decision to benefit himself at our expense?