President Donald Trump and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a meeting ahead of the NATO summit in Watford, in London, Britain, December 3, 2019.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
Next year’s G-7 summit will be held at Camp David in Maryland, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday, more than a month after he backed off his initial plan to host the gathering of world leaders at his own Miami golf resort.
Trump made the announcement in London during a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary meeting.
“We’re going to do it at Camp David,” Trump said when asked if a new G-7 site had been selected.
“And we’ll be doing some very special things at Camp David. It’s nearby. It’s close. We’re going to give very good access to the press you’ll have great access. And we’ll have a little bit of a Washington I think deliverance,” he said.
Trump sparked a furor when his acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, declared in mid-October that the Trump National Doral Miami had been chosen as the site for 2020’s G-7.
Mulvaney, without providing evidence, claimed that about a dozen other sites had been considered and that Doral had been the unequivocal winner.
Mulvaney also appeared to dismiss the idea of holding the elite gathering at Camp David. “I understand the folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to have the G-7. It was way too small. It was way too remote,” he said of Camp David at the time.
The announcement instantly drew accusations that the president was using the event to enrich himself through his political office.
Trump and Mulvaney had denied this, insisting that the event would be held “at cost” and that no profit would be collected — but critics noted that the resort, which has seen its revenue sink in recent years, could still benefit from hosting the high-profile summit.
But the howls of criticism and questions about ethical conflicts continued to swirl, and Trump buckled two days later.
“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,” Trump tweeted at that time, floating Camp David as a possible replacement.
Camp David was previously used for the summit in 2012, under President Barack Obama. That year’s gathering, which at the time included Russia and was referred to as the G-8 summit, was originally set to be held in Chicago, but was relocated to the Maryland retreat.
Russia was kicked out of the group of world leaders in 2014, after the forced annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by the Kremlin.