Last month, Trump briefly chose Doral to host a much larger event: next year’s Group of Seven summit of world leaders — effectively awarding a massive federal contract to himself. After bipartisan criticism, Trump canceled the event a few days later. No new site has yet been chosen for the summit.
Still, this will be the second time in two years that the GOP will hold a major meeting at the resort — a key property for Trump that has suffered financial decline since he entered politics.
The first GOP meeting at Doral was in spring 2018. That event produced about $630,000 in revenue for Trump’s company, from the GOP and individual attendees, according to a review of campaign-finance records.
At another GOP meeting, in winter 2018, the GOP held most of the event at another hotel — but it also included a dinner at Trump’s D.C. hotel, for which it paid Trump’s company $169,000.
On Thursday, a GOP spokesman defended the decision to return to Doral again in 2020.
“The media is obsessed with our spending at Trump properties and has covered it ad nauseam,” said spokesman Michael Ahrens. “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.”
He noted that the majority of recent GOP meetings were held entirely at properties Trump does not own.
Out of the last seven, four included no visits at a Trump property.
Ahrens said Doral was chosen for the 2020 winter meetings in March; campaign-finance records show the GOP paid the resort $84,822 that month for “venue rental and catering.” The event draws hundreds of Republicans for fundraising and debates about strategy and policy.
The Doral resort is a keystone of Trump’s hospitality business, which the president still owns and from which he can draw payments. Doral provides Trump with about $75 million in revenue per year, more than any other hotel or golf club, according to his required financial disclosures. The disclosures do not include profit figures.
But, according to documents that the company submitted to Miami-Dade County in an effort to lower its property taxes, the resort’s profits fell 69 percent in the three years after Trump entered politics in 2015. The documents were obtained by The Washington Post through a public-records request.
Late last year, a tax consultant hired by the Trump Organization told county officials that Doral was “severely underperforming” and blamed the polarizing Trump brand. The resort’s revenue rebounded slightly in 2018, according to Trump’s financial disclosures.
The Trump Organization did not respond to questions for this story. In the past, it has blamed the Doral hotel’s troubles on fears about the Zika virus and hurricanes, but not the Trump brand.
Like other Trump properties, Doral has compensated for some of its lost customers by attracting new ones, closely aligned with Trump’s politics.