Following widespread bipartisan criticism, President Donald Trump said Saturday his Doral resort in Florida would not host next year's Group of Seven summit of world leaders after all.
"Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020," he tweeted. "We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately."
The president had been under fire for the choice, announced Thursday by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, because it could ultimately benefit him financially. Mulvaney said world leaders would be able to stay at his resort at cost.
But even pundits on Fox News, Trump's favoured news outlet, criticized the move as a violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which forbids gifts of any kind to a president from foreign leaders.
On Thursday former Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News that the choice would entail "about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create."
"The constitution does not address profits," he said. "It addresses any present, as in a gift, any emolument, as in cash, of any kind."
Trump initially defended the move, saying on Twitter, "I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders."
The House was expected to vote next week on a non-binding resolution condemning the decision to hold the G7 at Trump National Doral next year, according to two House leadership sources.
Trump tweeted that his Miami resort had many advantages, including "tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms," and that the hosting would come "at ZERO COST to the USA."
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia that challenges Trump's ownership of a luxury hotel five blocks from the White House as a violation of the emoluments clause.
The hotel has been popular with foreign dignitaries visiting Washington.
Last month, the Pentagon reported military spending at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland was nearly $200,000 between 2017 to 2019.
It was reported in summer that the U.S. Air Force was using nearby Prestwick Airport for refuelling and for stopovers that also had some service members staying at the posh resort on the taxpayers' bill.
Mulvaney said Thursday that after considering roughly a dozen locations in the United States to host the G7 that Doral was the clear winner.
It was "almost like they built [Doral] to host this type of event," he said.