Yesterday wasn’t a good day for Donald Trump. The Left is rejoicing today over what they believe to have been the revelation of the smoking gun that Adam Schiff and his Democratic foot soldiers have been lusting after. It came at a White House presser in which acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters, “Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money.” We’ll have to wait and see if Democrats can prove there was a there there. (RELATED: Mulvaney links delay in Ukraine aid to DOJ investigation into 2016, then revises statement)
During the same news conference, Mulvaney also revealed that the president had selected the Trump National Doral Miami Golf Club as the setting for the next G7. There was almost instantaneous backlash from the media, which cried “conflict of interest” and “emoluments clause.” The New York Times reports:
Mr. Mulvaney said the president had considered the possibility of the “political sort of criticism” in picking the resort. But he said Mr. Trump chose it anyway because administration officials had considered hotels throughout the country, and concluded that the Trump National Doral was “by far and away, far and away, the best physical facility for this meeting.”
“‘It’s almost like they built this facility to host this type of event,’” Mr. Mulvaney told reporters, quoting what he said an unnamed official told him during the planning process. And he dismissed any suggestion that the president would profit from the choice.
This story is an almost vertbatim replay of the “gotcha” moment the Times and related publications tried to sell readers last month when U.S. Air Force crews were put up at a Trump resort in Scotland after stopping at Prestwick Airport to refuel their aircraft. Never mind that the hotel in question, the Trump Turnberry, was cheaper by far than comparable lodging in the area or the fact that is much closer to the airport.
But what makes attacks like this silliest is the claim that Donald Trump is taking advantage of his position as commander in chief to line his pockets. Trump has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion. Does anyone seriously believe he is selecting his own properties for affairs of state because he needs the money? And if he’s so hard up for cash, why has he waived his $400,000 salary as president every year he has been in office?
That being said, choosing to hold the G7 at his Miami resort at the height of all that’s going on right now strikes me as an unforced error. The problem is one of optics. Trump already has enough of his plate to deal with without providing the hostile media with grist for another broadside.