In 2020, President Trump wants world leaders to come to Miami, Florida to stay at his Doral resort, which settled a bedbug lawsuit several years ago.
After the 2019 G-7 concluded in France — in which French President Emanuel Macron hosted German chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and Trump — President Trump floated the idea of his Doral resort hosting the leaders of the world’s seven largest economies.
“You can be there in a matter of minutes after you land,” Trump said, citing the Doral resort’s proximity to the Miami International Airport.
However, the prospect of staying at the Doral resort may be unappealing to some of the world’s most powerful people, given its recent reported bedbug problem. According to the Miami Herald, the Doral resort settled a lawsuit a 63-year-old guest filed after saying he was covered with “dozens of bites” after sleeping in a room he rented for $300/night. The details of the settlement agreement were not made public, but the guest took photos that showed his back and neck dotted with red marks following his stay there.
The Doral property isn’t the only Trump-branded resort in which guests have alleged bedbug issues. According to the Bedbug Registry — in which guests can document experiences of having bedbugs in their hotel rooms — there are at least six Trump-branded properties in which guests have reported bedbug sightings.
“I woke up on Friday November 16, 2012, with three large itchy welts on my stomach and back. The welts were made up of several smaller bites, clustered in each area,” a visitor to the Trump SoHo in New York City wrote in 2012. “Over the next few days, I notified the hotel as the bites became itchier and more sensitive. The hotel was almost non-responsive to the report has now been over a week from the contact. They seemed un-concerned and un-willing to determine the cause, understand the situation and make any attempts to deal with the situation.”
The president may be hoping to amplify the profile of his Doral resort with next year’s G-7, as the hotel has reportedly been “hemorrhaging money,” according to the Miami New Times. What was once considered Trump’s “biggest moneymaker hotel” lost approximately $17 million in revenue between 2015 and 2017. The Times reports that the main issue with the hotel’s problems maintaining a high occupancy rate has been its “Trump” branding.
For his part, Trump is doing his best to sell the Doral resort as a G-7 option, citing its “incredible conference rooms.” He insisted that even though the hotel is one of his personal properties, he wouldn’t make any money from hosting the conference.
While Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids presidents from receiving gifts and “emoluments” from foreign governments (and despite Jimmy Carter turning over his peanut farm to a blind trust upon becoming president), Trump has not yet been forced to part with his private businesses. One remaining Emoluments Clause case against Trump — filed by Democratic members of Congress — is still pending, after a federal judge dismissed two others for lacking appropriate standing.
(Featured image: U.S. Air Force/Public Domain)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.