James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
12:39 P.M. EDT
MR. MULVANEY: Hey, guys. How are you all?
First thing’s first: I want to comment very briefly on Mr. Cummings’s passing. For those of you who know, I was in Congress for a couple years with Mr. Cummings, and — on the committee with him. I had a chance to work with him on a day in, day out basis. And he will be missed. He was — he was a classy guy, and I enjoyed much working with him. And the condolences from my family and all of the White House group to his family today. He will be — he will be sorely missed.
Now, getting on to the business at hand, I understand it’s been a fairly slow news week — (laughter) — so I thought we’d introduce a couple of things.
I did want to come out here with my Nationals hat on, but they told me that that would violate some type of rule, so I couldn’t do that. I was also going to wear my Montreal Expos hat, and then they said that would be foreign interference in the World Series, so I can’t do that either.
So we’re going to talk about the G7. We’re going to talk about where we’re going to do it. We’re going to announce today that we’re going to do the 46th G7 Summit on June 10th through June 12th at the Trump National Doral facility in Miami, Florida.
The focus of the event will be global growth and challenges to the global economy, specifically dealing with things like rejuvenating incentives for growth and prosperity; rolling back prosperity-killing regulations; ending trade barriers; and re-opening energy markets. So, taking a lot of what we have been doing here domestically with such success and trying to encourage the rest of the world to get onboard as we sit here and our economy does so well. You look all across the world right now, and the rest of the world is either at or near recession. And we really do think that we have hit on a formula that works not only here but that would work overseas, where we take the G7 as the opportunity to try and convince other nations that they can have the same successes by following the same model.
Now, let’s talk about the site selection process because I know you folks will ask some questions about that. How do we go about doing this? First of all, we use a lot of the same criteria that have been used by past administrations. There’s a long list of the accommodations on site: the ballrooms, bilateral rooms, the number of rooms, the photo ops, the support hotels that are there, the proximity to cities and airports, helicopter landing zones, medical facilities, et cetera.
So we use the same set of criteria that previous administrations have used. We started with a list of about a dozen, just on paper. And we sent an advance team out to actually visit 10 locations in several states. We visited California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Now, we got that list down to just under 10, and the advance team went out to visit those. And from there, we got down to four finalists that our senior team went out to look at. They looked at — I think it was one in Hawaii, two in Utah, and then the Mar-a-Lago facility in Florida.
And it became apparent at the end of that process that 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 advance 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.” If any of you have been there, you know that there’s separate buildings with their own rooms, separate and apart from each building, so that one country can have a building, another country can have another, you folks could have your building for the press. And obviously, the common areas are going to be perfect for our needs down there.
Again, anticipating your questions: How is this not an emoluments violation? Is the President going to profit from this? I think the President has pretty much made it very clear since he’s got here that he doesn’t profit from being here. He has no interest in profit from being here. It’s one of the reasons that he’s not taken a salary since he’s been here. He’s given that salary to charity. Will not be profiting here.
We had talked about the possibility of whether or not the President could actually do it at no cost, to understand there’s difficulties with doing it that way. But we’ll also have difficulties, obviously, if they charge market rates. So they’re doing this at cost. As a result, it’s actually going to be dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Doral compared to other final sites that we had.
So we’re looking forward to that meeting. Again, June 10th through 12th of next year for the 46th G7.
Now, my guess is, with that official part of the briefing finished, there’s going to be some questions about a variety of things that are going on in the world. So if we can do something together, that would be great. Can we take the questions about the G7 first, go through those, and then take a chance to maybe ask a couple questions about the other stuff before the end of the day?
Q Yeah, thank you. So, how is this not just an enormous conflict of interest for the President to host the G7 at his own resort? And how will the President continue to criticize the Biden family for self-dealing at the same time he’s doing this?
MR. MULVANEY: Okay, a couple different things. First off, you’re not making any profit. I think we’ve already established that. I think some —
Q There’s marketing and branding opportunities (inaudible).
MR. MULVANEY: It’s a huge — I’ve heard — you know, I’ve heard that — I’ve heard that before. You know, I guess I’ve been the Chief now for about 9 or 10 months, and I always hear: Whenever we go to Mar-a-Lago, it’s a huge branding opportunity; whenever he plays at Trump Mar-a-Lago. We play golf at Trump Bedminster. He goes to play golf at Trump, up at Sterling. And everybody asks the question: Is it not a huge marketing opportunity?
I would simply ask you all to consider the possibility that Donald Trump’s brand is probably strong enough as it is and he doesn’t need any more help on that. This is not like it’s the most recognizable name in the English language and probably around the world right now. So, no, that has nothing to do with it.
That’s why — listen, I was skeptical. I was. I was aware of the political, sort of, criticism that we’d come under for doing it at Doral, which is why I was so surprised when the advance team called back and said that this is the perfect physical location to do this.
So, I get the criticisms; so does he. Face it: He’d be criticized regardless of what he chose to do. But, no, there’s no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape, or form.
What’s the difference between this and what we’re talking about the Bidens? Well, first of all, there’s no profit here. Clearly, there’s profit with the Bidens. And, second of all, I think if there’s one difference that you look at between the Trump family and the Biden family: The Trump family made their money before they went into politics. That’s a big difference.
Q You said it’s going to be done at cost. Do you have any idea of the cost estimate, how much money you’re looking at? And also, will it remain a G7, or do envision Russia joining?
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah, I don’t have the numbers in terms of the cost. I do know that it was — it was — one of the ones I saw was it was almost half as much here. I don’t want to butcher the numbers, but it was millions of dollars cheaper by doing it at Doral than it was at another facility. And that was roughly 50 percent savings.
As to the G7, G8 — look, that discussion is ongoing. The President has been very candid about that, about whether or not he wants to have Russia join the G7 again, that used to be members of that organization. And I think he’s been fairly straightforward not only to you folks, but to other leaders around the world, which is we go to the G7 and what dominates so much of the discussion? Russia. Okay? Russian energy. Russian military policy. The Russian economy. It dominates a lot of the discussion. Wouldn’t it be better to have them inside as part of those conversations? But I think that decision will be made later, and we’ll continue to review it.
Q Thank you very much. G7 summits have been held for decades, so how can you make the argument that this is the best place to hold it? Surely there were other places that this could be held. And you can’t make the argument that the President is not going to profit because we can’t know how much he might profit in the future, right?
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah. To your first point, again, I think (inaudible) the profit one. Again, he’s not making any money off of this, just like he’s not making any money from working here. And if you think it’s going to help his brand, that’s great. But I would suggest that he probably doesn’t need much help promoting his brand, so we’ll put the profit one aside and deal with a perfect place.
I mean, who was here for the last time it was at Camp David? Was that the perfect place? In fact, I understand the folks who participated in it hated it and thought it was a miserable place to have the G7. It was way too small. It was way too remote. My understanding is this media didn’t like it because you had to drive an hour on a bus to get there either way.
Q I take your point. But there have been other G7 summits; I’ve attended numerous —
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah.
Q — G7 summits that have been completely fine, according to the leaders who attended them.
MR. MULVANEY: Well, look, we looked at —
Q How can the White House really make the argument that this was the only place the G7 Summit could (inaudible)?
MR. MULVANEY: It’s not the only place; it’s the best place. Those are two different things. Okay?
But we had dates —
Q There had to be other good places without the President’s (inaudible).
MR. MULVANEY: There’s plenty of other good places in this country to hold a large event. There’s no question about it. Some of the limitations: We wanted it at a specific time; we wanted it in early June. So that limits it a little bit. Then there’s other — there’s difficulties with going to various places. Some places don’t have the transportation that you need.
I mean, there was one place — I won’t say where it was — where we actually had to figure out if we were going to have to have oxygen tanks for the participants because of the altitude. So, yeah, there’s just — there’s limitations in other places.
We thought, of the 12 places that we looked at — and you’d recognize the names of them if we told what they were — that this was by far and away the best choice.
Q Very quickly. This is a business optics. How is the President going to stand on the debate stage — if, in fact, Vice President Biden wins the nomination — and try to make an argument that he profited off of his vice presidency, or his family did, when he’s hosting the G7 (inaudible)?
MR. MULVANEY: He’s going to do that extraordinarily well.
Yes, ma’am. Yeah.
Q Thank you, Director Mulvaney. So you were talking about how this is the best place —
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah.
Q — or one of the best places. Okay. So is this going to be self-contained just at Doral? Are there other hotel rooms you think you’ll have to get? Or is there anywhere else that you’ll have to (inaudible)?
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah. One of the advantages — I understand that one of the advantages that the advance team came back with about Doral was the fact that it could be sequestered off from the rest of the city, and that nearly all or all of the operations could be on that one piece of property. I think there’s — I think the President said there’s almost 900 acres there. So it’s a huge facility. And we’ll be able — with a lot open space. I think there’s three golf courses. So there’s a lot of space available to us. And we do anticipate the entire thing being on that campus.
Q Including the hotel — including hotels? I’m talking about additional hotel rooms. Do you think you’ll have to get additional hotels involved in that?
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah, I would — well, again, I’m not sure about the su- — when we talk about the delegations — for example, when we went to — where were we? — Biarritz, and I think we were at two or three different hotels around that city — that would not be the case here.
The American delegation would stay on campus. The British delegation will stay on campus. The Germans will stay on campus. Whether — and you folks will be there. Whether or not there’ll be other folks who are using up hotel rooms in the Miami area, I can’t speak to that.
Q And then a quick question about local authorities. What local authorities have you been in contact with about this?
MR. MULVANEY: Yeah, I haven’t asked that question, but we do that as part of — the advance team will do that with each of the groups that we work with. But I’m not familiar with those.