In the middle of an escalating impeachment probe, the White House on Thursday announced that the next G7 Summit of world leaders will take place at the president's own property - the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami, Florida.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defended the decision at a press conference at the White House.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MICK MULVANEY, SAYING: "Doral was by far and away, far and away the best physical facility for this meeting.
In fact I was talking to one of the advanced teams when they came back and I said what was it like and they said Mick you're not going to believe this but it's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event." The Washington Post reported that the Doral is struggling financially - with profits down 70% since Trump entered politics.
The Post also said that it appears to be the first time in history a president has awarded a massive contract to himself.
But Mulvaney insisted Trump would not be profiting.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MICK MULVANEY, SAYING: "I think the President has made it pretty much very clear since he's got here that he doesn't profit from being here, he has no interest in profit from being here." The announcement to hold the massive event at a Trump property quickly drew criticism from congressional Democrats, who had already vowed to investigate plans to host the G7 at Doral when Trump floated the idea in August.
Mulvaney said, despite the concerns, it is not a conflict of interest.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MICK MULVANEY, SAYING: "So they're doing this at cost as a result it's going to be dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Doral compared to the other final sites that we had." Trump has repeatedly attacked former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, over his son's business dealings in Ukraine and China, calling those ties corrupt without evidence.
When asked how the president's use of his private business properties to host official government events differed from Trump's allegations against the Bidens, Mulvaney told reporters the family had made their money before Trump became president.
Trump has said he is not involved with the day-to-day operations of his private company and that his sons run the business.