By Aamer Madhani, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he’ll host next year’s Group of Seven summit at the Camp David presidential retreat, a second choice he’s reluctantly embracing after being pressured into nixing plans to host the gathering at one of his private Florida resorts.
The White House had announced plans in October to host the G-7, scheduled for June 10-12, at his Trump National Doral resort near Miami. But he reversed course after bipartisan concern that he’d violate a clause in the Constitution that prohibits presidents from accepting gifts or payments from governments.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said at the time that Trump’s hotel was “far and away” the best choice after officials scouted locations in eight states in search of a venue to host the leaders of the world’s major industrial economies.
Mulvaney had also panned Camp David, where President Barack Obama hosted a G-7 summit in 2012, as “too small” and “too remote” when he announced Trump’s resort as the finalist.
“It will be at Camp David,” Trump said Tuesday after he was asked about the location. The G-7 presidency rotates annually among member countries and next year is Trump’s turn to play host.
Trump said the retreat in northwest Maryland, about a 90-minute drive from Washington, was close and has “great access” for journalists.
After reversing course, Trump lashed out at Democrats for going “crazy” over the decision. He had said he would host the summit at Doral for free, in an attempt to ease concerns about self-dealing. Some Republicans also were uncomfortable with the decision to choose Doral.
“Too bad we didn’t have the G-7 here,” Trump tweeted just before Thanksgiving after Golf.com named the Doral property as its “Top 100 Resort of the Week.”
“I offered to pick up the entire cost, would have saved at least $35,000,000 for the USA. Best location. Very stupid people thought I would gain. Wrong! Looking at Camp David. Will announce soon,” he wrote.
The Group of Seven members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.