Abandoning summit scheme, Trump presents himself as a victim

Updated

Four days ago, the White House announced that one of Donald Trump’s struggling business would host next year’s G7 summit, creating a legal and political mess. The Constitution prevents U.S. officials from receiving foreign payments, but under this scheme, world leaders who wished to participate in a key international gathering would have no choice but to spend foreign funds at the American president’s golf club in Doral, Florida.

Two days later, Trump announced via Twitter that he’d abandoned the plan.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives.

“I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!

“Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”

There are, not surprisingly, all kinds of problems with the presidential message. Note, for example, that by Trump’s version of events, he was personally involved in the alleged corruption. He also used a series of first-person pronouns that suggested the president sees little difference between himself and his private-sector enterprise.

I was also entertained by the all-caps reference to Miami International Airport, as if MIA deserves to be seen as a flagship facility synonymous with greatness.

But let’s not brush past the underlying point of the presidential tweets: Trump continues to see himself as a victim. The public is apparently supposed to believe the Republican simply wanted to do “something very good” for the United States by using his venue – the tweets were practically another ad for his struggling business – and it all would’ve worked out fine were it not for those rascally Democrats, journalists, legal experts, and authorities on governmental ethics.

It’s a pitiful posture, made worse by the fact that it isn’t even true.

As the Washington Post reported, it was the White House’s allies who convinced Team Trump to move in a different direction.

President Trump was forced to abandon his decision to host next year’s Group of Seven summit at his private golf club after it became clear the move had alienated Republicans and swiftly become part of the impeachment inquiry that threatens his presidency.

In a round of phone calls with conservative allies this weekend, Trump was told Republicans are struggling to defend him on so many fronts, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The New York Times had a similar report, noting that Trump was not prepared for “the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it.”

Of course, more than a few of the president’s allies towed the party line and defended Trump’s plan after Thursday’s announcement. It created a familiar dynamic for the GOP: Republicans went out on a limb to defend the indefensible, and when the pressure intensified, the president cut his losses – and in the process, cut off the limb on which his supporters were suddenly stuck.

Let this be a lesson for the White House’s allies about the dangers of supporting Trump’s schemes.