Former White House ethics director on Trump giving his own hotel G7 contract: ‘We have reached the bottom’

'There is no level of corruption greater than a President participating in the award of a contract to himself'

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 18 October 2019 21:25
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The White House chief of staff says the G7 summit will take place at Trump's Miami golf resort

The former White House director to the Office of Government Ethics said “there is no level of corruption greater” than Donald Trump’s decision to host the next G7 summit at his exclusive resort in Florida.

Walter Shaub, an attorney who served in the Office of Government Ethics from January 2013 to July 2017, slammed the move in a tweet posted on Thursday night.

“Hi. There is no level of corruption greater than a President participating in the award of a contract to himself,” he wrote.

His comments came after Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced during a press conference earlier that day that the Trump Doral in Florida had been selected as the venue to host the world economic powers as they convene next year in the United States.

“We have reached the bottom,” Mr Shaub wrote. “If the Senate will not act to stop this, there is no government ethics programme. It’s over.”

The tweet — which received nearly 20,000 retweets in under 24 hours — came after Mr Mulvaney’s explosive conference in the White House press briefing room, where he was questioned by reporters about the controversial decision to host the major summit at the president’s private business.

The White House acting chief of staff said he was not concerned about the impression the move could give other world leaders while heaping praise onto Mr Trump’s resort.

“Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” he said. “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.”

He said a team of aides scouted numerous venues across the country before bringing their list and observations to the president.

Mr Trump himself then suggested hosted the G7, which will take place in June, at his Florida resort.

Asked further questions about how the decision was made, Mr Mulvaney replied: “If you want to see our paper on how we did this, the answer is absolutely not.”

Mr Trump's Doral resort has been reportedly fledgling ever since he took office. Reports indicate the president’s hotel has suffered a double-digit per cent drop in revenue in recent years.

Democrats swiftly rebuked the decision as a “sellout of the US government, the Constitution and the American people,” while suggesting the move may be investigated by Democratic-led House committees.

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Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and member of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Washington Post: “The cardinal sin of the Trump presidency is the conversion of his public office into an instrument of private gain and campaign activity.”

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