Trump claims he's the victim of 'phony emoluments clause'

By Abbey Marshall

President Donald Trump on Monday claimed he's receiving unfair scrutiny because of the "phony emoluments clause," as he defended his prior decision to host next year's G-7 summit at his Doral resort in Miami.

Trump over the weekend reversed himself and canceled plans to hold the meeting of world leaders at his property after numerous critics questioned whether the move would violate a constitutional clause that forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government except for an annual salary.

“You people with this phony emoluments clause,” Trump said as he took questions from reporters during a Cabinet meeting.

The president was defensive of his initial decision, asserting that hosting the G-7 summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort would have saved taxpayer money because he “would have done it for free.” Trump blamed the reversal of his decision on Democrats and the media for invoking the emoluments clause as they questioned its legality.

Reporters pressed the president about whether his businesses needed a financial boost that the G-7 would have provided, but he vehemently denied it, saying, “If you’re rich, it doesn’t matter.”

Even before the controversy over Doral, Trump was facing heavy scrutiny over the emoluments clause. This month, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit that Washington and Maryland brought against Trump, alleging he was violating the emoluments clause through the patronage of his luxury Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital.