Next June, the United States will be in charge of hosting the 2020 summit of seven of the world’s most powerful industrial countries. One thing that won’t be on the agenda for the summit? Climate change.
During a press conference last week, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters: “Climate change will not be on the agenda.” Mulvaney did not elaborate on the subject.
The announcement has further fueled outrage at how the Trump administration is handling the hosting of the summit. Mulvaney also confirmed to reporters that the 2020 summit will take place at one of President Trump’s golf resorts in Florida, the National Doral Miami.
“This is unbelievable,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “Given the potential consequences the president is facing for abusing the presidency for his own gain, we would have thought he would steer clear of blatant corruption at least temporarily; instead he has doubled down on it.”
“The president is now officially using the power of his office to help prop up his struggling golf business,” continued Bookbinder. “There appears to be no bottom to President Trump’s corruption.”
Mulvaney did address the outrage at the conflict of interest, stating that “the president has made it clear since he’s been here that he hasn’t profited since he’s been here.”
Several politicians have been outspoken about both the choice of venue and the decision to exclude climate change from the agenda.
“What a disgrace,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, in response to Mulvaney’s statement to reporters on the exclusion of climate change.
“Not only is Trump using the powers of the presidency to enrich himself, which is blatantly unconstitutional,” Sanders tweeted. “He is ignoring a massive international crisis that threatens humanity. What a disgrace.”
“Trump doesn’t even try to hide his corruption,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar. “This is another use of foreign policy for his personal gain, and it’s another violation of our Constitution.”
“This is corruption, plain and simple,” wrote Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“He is exploiting his office and making official U.S. government decisions for his personal financial gain,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “The Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution exist to prevent exactly this kind of corruption.”
However, as The Guardian pointed out, Trump won’t be able to prevent other countries from discussing the crisis anyway.
“The other nations will no doubt bring up climate change in both an economic and security context,” said Paul Bledsoe, climate advisor to Bill Clinton. “The issue is going to come up frequently because it is increasingly a matter of public safety, national security and the economic costs of impacts.”