Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an appearance prior to the start of play during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 6, 2016 in Doral, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images
Three Democratic senators are asking the White House for a raft of information to justify what they called the “outrageous” decision to have the G-7 summit held at President Donald Trump‘s Miami golf resort next year.
But even as they did so, a Republican senator said that the decision to have Trump National Doral Miami, which is owned by the president’s company, host the conference of world leaders shows Trump’s “integrity.”
“I don’t have any concerns about it other than just politically how it appears,” Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said Friday.
“It may seem careless politically, but on the other hand there’s tremendous integrity in his boldness and his transparency,” Cramer said.
Cramer’s Republican colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, had a completely different view that she expressed in a single word.
When asked if it is appropriate to have the G-7 at the Doral, Murkowski said, “No.”
On Friday, a Democratic congressional aide told CNBC that House of Representatives will vote sometime next week on a resolution condemning Trump’s decision to select his own property for the summit as inconsistent with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
That clause bars presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday revealed that the Doral would be the site of G-7 summit in June.
Mulvaney said the resort was clearly the best choice among a dozen or so sites eyed by a team that evaluated the locations.
He also said that the Doral would charge the foreign entourages and other guests for goods and services “at cost,” which he said would eliminate the chance that the president would reap a profit from the summit.
But in a letter Thursday night, three Democratic senators called the Doral pick “another outrageous example of the President using his office funnel money from American taxpayers and foreign sources into his own pockets.”
The letter, from Gary Peters of Michigan, Oregon’s Ron Wyden, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, noted that Trump has traveled as president more than 20 times to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, “costing taxpayers millions of dollars with every trip.”
The letter also noted that Vice President Mike Pence stayed at Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, during an official visit last month, and that the U.S. Air Force Inspector General is investigating stays by Air Force personnel at Trump’s resort in Scotland.
“President Trump’s decision to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Miami property appears to have been a foregone conclusion,” the letter says.
It is addressed to Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Trump announced last week that McAleenan would be resigning.
The Democrats’ letter said the “timing and justification” of the decision “has clear national security implications.”
The letter said a security plan “is generally required” for such events, but “it remains unknown whether and to what extent any security plan or assessment” has been done to address “potential security concerns.
The senators ask the officials for an assessment of costs for federal, state and local governments, as well as foreign governments from the pick.
They also are requesting information about when Trump suggested having the Doral host the G-7, a timeline of the selection process, a list of all U.S. cities and venues considered in the process, the identities of the agencies involved in the selection, and a copy of the contract for the event.
The other items requested include any information about how the Trump Organization determines how to charge the U.S. government “at cost,” as opposed to for profit.
The White House had no immediate comment on the letter.
– Additional reporting by Jacob Pramuk
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