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White House Press Briefing Doubles As Infomercial for Donald Trump’s Golf Resort

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions during a briefing at the White House October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mulvaney answered a range of questions relating to the issues surrounding the impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Donald Trump, and other issues during the briefing. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney held an increasingly rare White House press briefing on Thursday, October 17, in part to announce that the June 2020 G7 summit of world leaders will be held at President Donald Trump‘s own Trump National Doral Miami golf resort. Camp David, a government-owned retreat, is typically used to host diplomatic affairs led by the president.

In his opening statement, Mulvaney tried to head off the obvious questions regarding what looks like a flagrant example of corruption: a sitting president attempting to use the power of his office to benefit the family business from which Trump has refused to divest.

“Again, anticipating your questions, how is this this is not emoluments violation? Is the president going to profit from this?” Mulvaney told reporters. “I think the president has pretty much made it very clear since he got here, he doesn’t profit from being here. He has no interest in profiting from being here.”

The notion that the president has “no interest in profiting from being here” is a curious statement, given how Trump’s entire presidency thus far has seemingly served as a de facto ad campaign for his golf courses and hotels. The president also only seems to leave the White House or Mar-a-Lago when he absolutely has to. And when he does, he usually retreats to one of his Trump-branded properties.

“Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” Mulvaney claimed to reporters. He added that 10 other sites had allegedly been considered, then admitted that holding the summit at Doral was Trump’s idea.

When asked if the location choice was made to bolster the president’s brand, Mulvaney responded: “Donald Trump’s brand is probably strong enough as it is and he doesn’t need any more help on that. It is the most recognizable name in the English language and probably around the world.”

What Trump may need help with, however, is making Doral profitable again. According to the Washington Post, the golf resort’s revenue has plummeted 69 percent since 2015, and is drastically underperforming compared to its competitors. A huge contract to hold a multiple-day event certainly wouldn’t hurt the ailing club’s bottom line.

In fairness to Mulvaney, shilling for the president’s business from the briefing room lectern isn’t the worst he’s embarrassed himself on camera on Trump’s behalf. During a June ABC News interview, Mulvaney scurries out of the room like a scared animal after Trump chastises him for coughing. Apparently, divorcing yourself from any semblance of dignity is a job requirement in Trump’s White House.