Surprising backing down by Trump

One of the things that Donald Trump is notable for is the way he acts on wrong-headed impulses and then his reaction to criticisms of them. His tendency is to double down, to lie and make up stuff to support his earlier decisions, since his whole mode of operation is to give his followers the impression that his judgment is infallible and that any fault lies with his critics. Given that he and his family are grifters who see nothing wrong with using their positions for private gain, I was not surprised that he decided that the next G7 meeting that the US is hosting would be held at his own Doral resort in Miami. It would be a huge windfall for the property that has had declining revenues since 2015.

This kind of blatant self-interest is what grifters do. Of course, there was a storm of protest but I expected Trump to shrug it off as being merely the carping of haters and go ahead anyway, since he thinks that his base won’t care. So I was surprised to hear this morning that he had backed down and that they would now look for another venue.

Donald Trump has been forced into a humiliating climbdown over plans to host the next G7 meeting at his own luxury resort, following a political outcry.

The US president announced in a Saturday night tweet that he would seek an alternative venue to host world leaders next June.

The move represented a rare admission of defeat by Trump, who typically digs in and fights to defend every controversial statement and policy.

Though the initial floating of the idea in August prompted widespread expressions of concern, on Sunday Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, saidthe president was “honestly surprised at the level of pushback” his decision generated this week.

To an incredulous response from his interviewer, Mulvaney said Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business”.

Even in his concession, Trump complained bitterly that he thought he was “doing something very good for our country” by choosing the Trump National Doral, near Miami, to host G7 leaders.

Trump still considers himself to be in the hospitality business? Then who is serving as president?

Of course, Trump said that the media and Democrats had shown “crazed and irrational hostility” to his decision but that has not stopped him before. So why did Trump back down this time? The only reason that I can think of is that with impeachment looming, even his own lawyers must have warned him that this action, which was essentially a lucrative contract awarded to himself by himself, would clearly violate the emoluments clause of the US constitution and would be guaranteed to be added to any articles of impeachment and indeed may end up as the main one, since the self-dealing would be undeniable.

In general, it has been yet another terrible week for Trump, attacked even by Republicans for his capitulation to Turkey and his abandonment of the Kurds, his losses in the courts, and the admission by his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that there indeed had been a quid pro quo on Ukraine, something that he clumsily and implausibly tried to walk back after it was pointed out that he had basically undercut the defense of trump and his supporters.


  1. Jean says

    I have also been wondering what would make Trump change his mind since he doesn’t seem too preoccupied by the legality of his actions. He probably has received some legal advice that this was quite a clear violation of the emoluments clause.

    But I wonder if he also has had a call from his boss Vlad telling him that he would prefer to have less controversy over the G7 meeting location so that he could be invited. The Doral location would give an easy out for any foreign leader who doesn’t want to be there without explicitly protesting Putin’s presence. This is obviously pure speculation on my part but it would fit with the Trump/Putin goal of going back to the G8; it could also have been the thinking behind this relocation without a direct russian intervention but just from the Trump entourage planning.

    I can also see Trump receiving some other phone calls from the G7 members saying they would not be happy with the whole emoluments issue even if just for the bad PR. That’s less of a conspiracy theory than the above and I assume that this is something that would have occurred at some point if it isn’t the actual cause of Trump backing down.

  2. Heidi Nemeth says

    I heard a rumor of bedbugs at Trump’s Doral resort. Even if it isn’t true, the rumor would make The Doral less appealing to other world leaders, to the US government, and to that wonderful host himself, Donald Trump.
    Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be if journalists documented a bedbug infestation at the resort during the G7 summit?
    Trump is always spouting fake conspiracy theories. It seems fair that the other side spread a (possibly false) rumor which is damaging to him, though by spreading the rumor they may inadvertently save him from a damning article of impeachment.

  3. says

    He probably has received some legal advice that this was quite a clear violation of the emoluments clause.

    … Because Giuliani is out of town/dodging federal marshalls, maybe someone gave Trump some good advice.

  4. Ridana says

    “Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be if journalists documented a bedbug infestation at the resort during the G7 summit?”
    He’d just blame it on those dirty foreigners bringing in their diseases and bedbugs.

  5. Holms says

    I wonder how much pushback was also coming through from other nations via diplomatic channels. I’m sure a number of the more reasonable leaders would have seen that they were stepping into a minefield, out of being mindful of their home politics and the potential anger faced back home in participating with the Trump game of self-dealing.

  6. Dunc says

    Rich, powerful people generally like to stay in nice hotels, whereas this is probably the sort of gaudy shithole that no self-respecting G7 leader would be seen dead in.

  7. John Morales says

    Dunc, you really want to go there?

    But fine, the elite are expected to expect elite accommodation, it’s just the way of things.

    (A backhanded compliment to the system, in the guise of a derogatory supposition about Trump’s holdings)

    And, to be on-topic, the moment “hospitality” comes up, I think of regugees and immigrants and non-whites. And, lately, especially of allies.

    (O so very hospitable!)

  8. ardipithecus says

    Trump needs the support of the Republican Senate to survive as pres. After the G7 announcement, that support started to implode. There was already some head shaking.

    With Ukraine. then betrayal of the Kurds, then G7 . . . I think he likely has lost some of them even with the backtrack.

    I’m waiting to see what nifty whim he has next.

  9. jrkrideau says

    Trump’s minor concession on the hotel pales into insignificance in comparison with the US abandonment of the Kurds (though one could see this coming at least six months ago) and, then, his double-crossing of Turkey all within what, 24 to 36 hours, the latter under internal political pressure.

    Trump and or his “advisors” seem to have an eye on the upcoming election at the cost of completely trashing the US’s international credit.

    PS: I doubt that other countries cared about the hotel issue baring the bedbugs.

  10. lanir says

    I think we’ll be seeing that phrase again about Trump considering himself in the hospitatlity business. It seems like exactly the sort of statement that I’d want him or his people to say if I were trying to prove they were breaking the emolument clause with the way they’ve dealt with the family business.

    I don’t much care about the rest of this. I already knew he was awful and needed to be replaced. I don’t need any more reasons. He’s long past the point where anyone who supports him is highly suspect. Further evidence of awfulness doesn’t really do much for me other than loosely tallying up the damage he’s done that will need to be fixed later. Outside of that I don’t really pay him much attention anymore.

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