Trump slams constitutional clause that stops him from profiting from presidency

The president blasts 'you people with this phoney emoluments clause' after G-7 summit backlash

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 21 October 2019 22:57 BST
Donald Trump calls emoluments clause 'phony'

A question about Donald Trump's scuttled plans to host the international G-7 summit at his Florida golf resort devolved into a seven-minute defence of his presidency and the dismissal of a US constitutional clause that prevents presidents from profiting from their own presidency as "phoney".

The administration abruptly pulled out of plans to host next year's summit at his Trump National Doral Resort in Miami just two days after his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had announced the location.

Democrats argued that hosting the summit could be a financial boon to Mr Trump, which would likely violate so-called "emoluments" clauses of the US Constitution preventing sitting presidents from any kinds of compensation beyond service performed in office, particularly from foreign powers.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, Mr Trump said former presidents had continued to make money from their businesses while in office and claimed "other presidents were wealthy", including George Washington, who had a "presidential desk and a business desk" while in office.

Mr Trump claimed he lost as much as $5bn by running for president, though he said he would do it again "in an instant" because he's "making a big difference for the country".

He continued: "I don't think you people with this phoney emoluments clause -- and by the way, I would say that it's cost me anywhere from $2-$5bn to be president. And that's OK. Between what I lose and what I would've made, I would've made a fortune, if I just ran my business. I ran it really well. I have a great business. I have the best properties."

He said he planned to use Doral "at no cost or give it free" and listed Doral's amenities in defence of his choice, "but the Democrats went crazy".

Mr Trump also called the Congressional impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine "illegitimate" and mocked Democrats' efforts to introduce another whistleblower.

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The Trump family has been accused of using the White House for its business interests; Mr Trump says he has handed control of the Trump empire to his sons while his assets are held within a blind trust

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