Despite lawsuits, RNC will hold winter meetings at a Trump hotel

Washington — The Republican National Committee confirmed Thursday it would hold its winter meetings at Trump National Doral, bringing business to one of the president’s struggling properties.

The news comes weeks after President Trump canceled plans to host next year’s Group of Seven summit of world leaders in Doral and weeks after a federal appeals court decided to reconsider a lawsuit accusing him of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.

He has since put his D.C. hotel — just a few blocks from the White House — up for sale with an asking price of as much as $500 million. According to Mr. Trump’s financial disclosure report, he earned more than $100 million from his properties in 2018.

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In a statement, RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens confirmed that the group’s multiday event will be held in January at Mr. Trump’s golf resort, which is located near Miami International Airport.

The RNC said the contract was signed in March and noted that the majority of RNC meetings have not been held at Trump properties.

“The media is obsessed with our spending at Trump properties and has covered it ad nauseam,” Ahrens said. “As we have stated multiple times, we continue to hold events at them because they have fantastic service and secure spaces that fit our needs.”

A Trump National Doral sign is seen at the golf resort owned by President Trump’s company on August 27, 2019, in Doral, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The RNC winter meetings will be the second time in two years for Republicans to hold a major meeting at the resort. According to The Washington Post, a GOP event in Doral last year produced about $630,000 in revenue for Mr. Trump’s company.

Critics have noted that the Doral resort, the biggest source of revenue among Mr. Trump’s 17 golf properties, appears to have been struggling since even before he became president.

Financial disclosure reports filed by the president show revenue is barely growing, up just $1 million last year, to $76 million. And the Trump Organization itself has admitted it was struggling, arguing in a tax appeal to local authorities last year that it is “seriously underperforming,” according to a Washington Post review of tax appeal documents.

The RNC is just the latest to face criticism over its choice of hotel. 

The Department of Defense spent at least $184,000 at Mr. Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland over the course of two years. Vice President Mike Pence stayed at a Trump hotel in Ireland that was 180 miles away from his meetings in Dublin. And Attorney General William Barr plans to hold a $30,000 holiday party at the president’s D.C. hotel in December.

Stephen Gandel, Clare Hymes and Kathryn Watson contributed reporting.

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