Announcement came as a surprise to city and police that will host and protect world leaders at US taxpayers expense

It was billed as far and away the best venue when the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared that Donald Trump had awarded next years G7 summit to the presidents own luxury golf resort in Florida.

Yet buried in the ballyhoo of the extraordinary announcement was an even more surprising revelation (or maybe not): nobody had bothered informing the locals.

The city of Doral and its police department that will supposedly host and protect world leaders and their entourages at US taxpayers expense were caught on the hop by the proclamation.

So too were the Miami-Dade police department, and the senior officials of the countys tourism bureau, who usually have the job of securing blocks of hotel rooms when events of such international importance come to town.

Mulvaney told reporters at a rare White House press briefing on camera, on Thursday afternoon, that the administration selected Trumps resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in various other US states.

Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting. Its almost like they built this facility to host this event, he said.

It appears that only Carlos Gimnez, the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade county, received any kind of heads-up, and that a quick phone call from the White House office of intergovernmental affairs barely 45 minutes before Mulvaney took the podium, according to an assistant.

I did not know it was going to be announced, said Juan Carlos Bermudez, the mayor of the city of Doral.

We had a conversation with the White House in late June, a very brief one, on the possibility of this coming to Doral but I did not receive a phone call before the announcement. I found out just like you found out. That is, via the live televised briefing.

Similarly, the Miami-Dade police department, the largest law enforcement agency in the south-eastern US, had also been out of the loop.

Nada. Zilch, the spokesperson Alvaro Zabaleta told the Miami Herald when the newspaper asked what advance notice had been received.

Zabaletas colleague, detective Angel Rodriguez, admitted to the Guardian on Friday: We dont have a whole lot of information right now. As the weeks go by, Im sure well be getting more.

Meanwhile William Talbert, the head of the Greater Miami convention and visitors bureau that will play a lead role in accommodating tens of thousands of fans for next years American football Super Bowl, was another who found out from television news.

He told the Herald he had not checked to see what other events might be on in Miami at the same time as the G7, at the Trump National resort in Doral, from 10 to 12 June, 2020.

The suddenness of the announcement raised concerns over security, with some experts doubting the authenticity of the selection process the White House said it followed to find a venue, or whether the 800-acre, 643-room facility had received an appropriate federal security vetting. The Secret Service, which would be responsible for such a review, did not return an inquiry from the Guardian.

The decision to host the event at his own resort has also led to accusations that Trump will profit personally, an allegation Mulvaney denied. In May it was revealed that Trumps profits from Doral had plummeted, while this summer the president was forced to deny reports that the resort was infested by bed bugs.

Bermudez, the Doral mayor, said his city would now be working closely with the Secret Service and White House to prepare for the event, and had already switched more than $300,000 in city funds to pay for police overtime and equipment and other resources he said would be needed.

He also said he hoped Trump would rethink a decision to keep any discussion of the climate crisis off the G7 agenda.

When you have an opportunity for a summit of this type, theres a valid argument to discuss all the issues that impact not only us but the six other countries and the world, he said.

Climate change is an important issue to us in south Florida and Doral. I hope that democracy in the Americas and issues like climate change that the seven countries can discuss will be discussed.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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