Trump says he's most promoted person 'ever', amid backlash over resort pick for G-7 meet

US President Donald Trump on Monday pushed back against criticism of his handling of Syria, his desire to use a Trump property for government business, and an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
US President Donald Trump has previously come under fire for the use of his golf resorts by White House staff and travelling members of the military
US President Donald Trump has previously come under fire for the use of his golf resorts by White House staff and travelling members of the militaryPHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Donald Trump said on Monday (Oct 21) that his much-criticised attempt to stage the Group of Seven meeting at one of his golf courses was not intended to promote his business brand, arguing he's too famous to "need promotion".

"They say, 'Oh, you get promotion.' You don't think I get enough promotion? I get more promotion than any human being that's ever lived," Mr Trump said at a meeting of his Cabinet in the White House. "I don't need promotion."

Mr Trump's latest defence of the now-scrapped plan to hold the international summit at his Trump National Doral resort in Florida next year follows withering criticism.

Opponents say the bid smacked of corruption while even figures in the loyal Republican party baulked at the optics of the real estate tycoon holding the huge diplomatic event at his own hotel.

Mr Trump last Saturday tweeted that he was pulling the idea and would consider other sites, including the presidential retreat of Camp David, near Washington, DC.

He has previously come under fire for the use of his golf resorts by White House staff and travelling members of the military, as well as his hiring of his daughter and son-in-law in senior White House advisory positions.

But Mr Trump lashed out at accusations of corruption.

He noted that he gives away his presidential salary of about US$450,000 (S$612,000) and insisted that being president has personally cost him between US$2 billion and US$5 billion in lost business revenues - a calculation that has not been independently tested.

"I don't care. If you're rich, it doesn't matter," Mr Trump said. "I'm doing this for the country.

 
 
 

"I'm very good at real estate, very, very good, much better than you even understand," he boasted, adding that he had gone above and beyond ethics requirements by handing legal control of his business to his children.

"I didn't have to do that. I'm under no obligation to do it. I don't know if you know it, George Washington, he ran his business simultaneously while he was president," Mr Trump said.

"George Washington was actually considered a very rich man at the time. But they ran their businesses. George Washington, they say, had two desks - he had a presidential desk and a business desk."

The G-7 summit at the Doral would have been "the greatest G-7 ever", he said. At a different location, "I don't think it will be as exciting".