President Trump turned a news conference at the G-7 Summit in France on Monday into a shameless infomercial to sell the Trump resort in South Florida as the best U.S. site to host next year’s meeting of world leaders.

It was typical Trump. Always the salesman. Never the statesman.

But his performance in Biarritz, France, raised serious conflict-of-interest questions as to whether he was attempting to steer government business to his family’s resort business. It sure sounded like it.

His remarks also bolster the argument of several groups that have sued the president alleging that he is violating the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans gifts from foreign governments. Trump handed the day-to-day operations of the Trump Organization, with its hotels, golf resorts and other real estate holdings, to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr., after becoming president.

At Monday’s news conference, a reporter asked what reassurances he could offer the American people that he was not looking to profit off the presidency.

Before saying he didn’t care about money, Trump gushed at length about the Trump National Miami Doral resort and how it would be an ideal locale for the 2020 G-7 Summit. He even said “military people” and the Secret Service had recommended the resort.


“They went to places all over the country and they came back and they said, ‘This is where we’d like to be,’ ” said Trump. “Now, we had military people doing it. We had Secret Service people doing it. We had people that really understand what it’s about.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about getting the right location,” he said without a hint of shame.

In promoting his family’s hotel and golf resort, Trump didn’t sound like the leader of the Free World. He sounded more like a slick salesman peddling vacation timeshares.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog, announced Tuesday it was requesting records from the Doral resort and the Secret Service to investigate Trump’s possible role in directing the location of next year’s G-7 Summit. The more transparency, the better.

Trump’s remarks alone, however, were troubling enough. He bragged about the 643-room Trump Doral resort having the “biggest ballrooms” in Florida and its proximity to Miami International Airport. He boasted about the “magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows” and the “incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants.”

“Having (the summit) at that particular place because of the way it’s set up, each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow, and the bungalows, when I say they have a lot of units in them, so I think it just works out well,” he yammered as if trying to close a sale.


“From my standpoint, I’m not going to make any money,” he said. “I don’t want to make money. I don’t care about making money.”

It’s all about the money for Trump, whose prize resort in Doral has been struggling financially since he announced he was running for president in 2015, according to Trump’s presidential financial disclosure reports and media reports.

In his 2018 report, Trump reported income of less than $75 million from the Doral resort, way down from the more than $115 million reported in his 2017 report. In his 2018 financial disclosure, released in May, he reported having two mortgages linked to the property with Deutsche Bank, one for more than $50 million and another for between $5 million and $25 million. The reports were compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, another Washington-based watchdog group.

The Washington Post reported in May that a Trump Organization consultant told the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board last year that the property was “severely underperforming.”

At Monday’s news conference in France, Trump was asked by a reporter if he was at all concerned about the ethics of trying to boost his own brand, and the president replied: “No, not at all.”

Trump may dismiss the ethical questions about potentially profiting from the presidency, but the American people should be worried about their president using the most powerful office in the world to promote his family’s business interests.


Comments are not available on this story.