‘Most Overt Corruption to Date’ as Trump Resort to Host 2020 G7
“It’s point blank, a violation of the premier anti-corruption provision of the United States Constitution, the emolument clause, because it will involve payments and benefits, and promotion, to the president’s property.”
White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday that White House has chosen President Trump’s private company, Trump Doral golf resort, to host the 2020 Group of Seven (G7) summit. Critics expressed disbelief that the president used his office to grant himself such a high-profile contract at a time of intensified scrutiny during the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“This is the most overt corruption to date,” tweeted former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub. “How any Senator could fail to object to this is beyond me. There’s no universe in which anyone could believe that, in a country as big as ours, the selection of Trump’s resort was anything but a product of the worst kind of corruption.”
Mulvaney denied accusations of corruption at the press conference, saying: “Again, anticipating your questions, how is this this is not emolument violation? Will the president profit from this? The president pretty much made it very clear since he got here, he doesn’t profit from being here. He has no interest in profiting from being here.”
“Selfishly as a Floridian, senator from Florida, I think it’s great any time our community gets that kind of attention,” said Sen. Marco Rubio on the G7 meeting at Trump’s private resort. Mitt Romney, who has been one of Trump’s few Republican critics, declined to comment on the news.
“We now live in a country where government employees like Mick Mulvaney can violate the ethical principle prohibiting misuse of position for private gain without official rebuke,” Schaub tweeted Friday in response to Republicans’ failure to object to Trump’s use of public office for private gain. “The ethics program died yesterday.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal will be adding the G7 at Trump Doral decision to an emolument lawsuit against the president, which some argue should be included in the impeachment inquiry in addition to Trump’s actions involving Ukraine.
“It’s point blank, a violation of the premier anti-corruption provision of the United States Constitution, the emolument clause, because it will involve payments and benefits, and promotion, to the president’s property, with money going into his pocket from foreign governments,” said Blumenthal. The senator rejected the White House’s argument that Trump wouldn’t profit, saying, “we’ll never know whether there’s profit because it’s not a public corporation and he’s not releasing his tax returns.”
This August, a report by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) found that Trump has visited his properties at least 362 times at taxpayer expense since his 2017 inauguration. Ninety members of Congress have made 188 visits to a Trump property, 111 foreign officials have stayed at Trump properties, and political groups have hosted 63 events at the president’s properties since Trump’s inauguration, according to CREW.
“This is unbelievable,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said of the G7 Trump Doral news. “Given the potential consequences the president is facing for abusing the presidency for his own gain, we would have thought he would steer clear of blatant corruption at least temporarily; instead he has doubled down on it.”
Mulvaney also appeared to damage the White House’s impeachment argument when he admitted that aid for Ukraine was linked to the Trump administration’s attempts to investigate a political rival.
“I have news for everybody. Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy… that’s going to happen. Elections have consequences,” Mulvaney said.
“Then: No quid pro quo. Perfect call. Now: Of course quid pro quo. Get over it,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash in response to Mulvaney’s admission. After the White House tried to walk his statement back on Friday, Amash tweeted: “Latest: Can we change that back to no quid pro quo?”