WASHINGTON — It’s not just Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus screaming about wrongdoing; Republicans are wincing over President Donald Trump’s decision to hold a summit with foreign leaders at his resort, too.
The president owns Trump National Doral Miami, a sprawling golf complex that is part of the president’s landholdings he continues to control after failing to cut financial ties to The Trump Organization after being elected.
Records show Doral has been losing revenue, and Trump’s decision to hold the Group of Seven summit there in June would be a financial shot in the arm for the flailing Florida complex, at U.S. taxpayer expense.
“The only logical conclusion is that President Trump is proud to be the most corrupt, lawless president in modern American history,” Titus said.
Titus is chairwoman of a congressional panel looking into Trump’s landholdings and violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits a president from accepting payments from foreign governments or profiting from other governments beyond the annual salary of the office.
Even Republicans backed away from defending the president on the decision, announced by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday, that the Trump property would play host to the G-7 summit.
Trump touted his resort this year as a possible location for a summit with world leaders, and Mulvaney said a decision to hold the G-7 at Doral came after looking at other U.S. locations in others states, including Hawaii.
After a thorough search, Mulvaney said, “Doral was by far and away — far and away — the best facility for this meeting.”
The White House said G-7 accommodations at Doral would be billed to participating governments “at cost,” and the president’s company would only charge taxpayers to cover the resort’s costs for security and other services required to protect conduct high-level meetings.
“Holding the G-7 at a Trump property is one of the most foolish, unseemly things the WH could do,” Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter. “The president enjoys waving red flags in front of bulls, but this fight isn’t worth it.”
Several Republican lawmakers softened their criticism, but said the president should follow the canon that elected officials should avoid the appearance of impropriety, if nothing else.
House Democrats are moving forward with a nonbinding resolution to be taken up Tuesday to condemn Trump for his decision to accept foreign government emoluments without the consent of Congress.
Meanwhile, the House is investigating whether Trump violated the emoluments clause by profiting from his lease of the Old Post Office, which is government property, and the location of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee investigation into the president’s arrangement with the General Services Administration, which handles government leases, is underway.
The Justice Department is representing the president in legal proceedings to stop the probe and a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
A Justice Department spokeswoman has called the congressional investigation “another impractical attempt to distract the president from his official duties.”
The investigation is being headed by Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Titus, the chairwoman of the subcommittee on public buildings.
“This casual corruption is happening in plain sight, including in his own backyard at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue,” Titus said. “While the president has refused to uphold his obligations under the Constitution, members of Congress must uphold ours.”
Another investigation into possible violations of the emoluments clause is being conducted by the House Judiciary Committee, which is reviewing the U.S. military’s use of Trump’s golf resort in Scotland.
Vice President Mike Pence recently used the Scotland hotel during an overseas trip at the behest of the president.