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Experts: President’s Plan to Host 2020 G-7 at Trump Resort Violates the U.S. Constitution


President Donald Trump on Monday confirmed reports that he would like to host next year’s Group of Seven (G-7) summit at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami, Florida, a move many legal and political experts believe would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

When asked why he had chosen one of his own properties, the president said that it was essentially a matter of convenience, given the resort’s close proximity to Miami International Airport.

“It seems to set up the best. It’s close to – we haven’t made a final decision, – but it’s close to the airport, right there, meaning a few minutes away,” Trump said.

The president then launched a sales pitch, espousing what he perceived to be the finer points of the Trump-owned property:

It’s a great place, got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so it can handle whatever happens. People are really liking it. Plus, it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units in them so each delegation can have its own building, various delegations can have their own buildings, and they could have buildings for the press – it’s very big, great conference rooms, so we’re thinking about it. We love the hotel and they also love the fact that it’s right next to the airport for convenience. And it’s Miami. Doral-Miami.

When asked whether the decision to host the 2020 G-7 at Trump’s Doral Resort was final, Trump wouldn’t say for certain, but noted that there were no other contending destinations to discuss.

“We haven’t found anything that can even come close to competing with it, especially when you look at the location. Really you can be there in a matter of minutes after you land,” Trump said.

Behind the scenes, Trump has been pushing to host next year’s summit at Doral for at least the past couple of months, according to aides who spoke with the Washington Post. However, many of the president’s advisors have warned him that forcing foreign leaders and their delegations to rent space at Trump’s privately owned resort could run afoul of ethics laws designed to prevent the president from profiting from the office.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, one of the nation’s foremost constitutional law scholars, pointed out that the move does in fact appear to directly violate the Emoluments Clause.

“Emolumentally [sic] clear! Trump keeps proving that he is deliberately violating the Constitution’s main safeguard against financial corruption and compromise of presidential decisions by foreign powers. He’s making our case for us,” Tribe tweeted in response to the news.

Seth Masket, a professor of political science at the University of Denver, also voiced his opinion that a G-7 summit at Doral would run counter to the Constitution, calling the proposal “a massive violation of the Emoluments Clause.”

Many others had similar reactions.

Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan allowed the President to appeal an Emoluments lawsuit filed by more than 200 congressional Democrats, delaying the discovery process until a decision can be made regarding the Democrats’ standing to bring the lawsuit. Two other Emoluments lawsuits brought against Trump have been dismissed because the Plaintiffs – an ethics watchdog group and the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., – did not have proper legal standing.

If Trump is able to successfully bypass the Emoluments Clause and bring the G-7 to Doral, hopefully the resort avoids any further run-ins with bed bugs.

[image via Jeff J Mitchell – Pool /Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.