The Six Shadiest Trump Doral Events Since Donald Became President

The Six Shadiest Trump Doral Events Since Donald Became President
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
The Trump Organization is, technically, run by Donald Trump's large adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. But despite his public statements to the contrary, Trump himself still has an ownership stake in his huge empire of real-estate properties, restaurants that serve nightmarish cocktails, and random buildings with his name slapped onto the sides. That's why a watchdog group is suing the president for remaining tied to his businesses while they receive money from foreign governments, which appears to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

His properties in South Florida are no different. Since Trump took office, a whole lot of major corporations and lobbying groups have decided to hold galas and other large events at the Trump National Doral Miami. Take, for instance, the predatory payday-lending industry: Lenders plan to hold a huge event at the golf resort in roughly a week — right as they're also lobbying the Trump administration to roll back lending regulations. Coincidence?

Here's a breakdown of the shadiest events held at the Trump Doral since our big, pockmarked pear of a president took office:

1. The upcoming payday-lending-palooza. Is there any more obvious attempt at influence-peddling than this? According to the Miami Herald, the Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade group that lobbies on behalf of payday lenders (the sort of companies that prey on the poor by approving them for microloans that are extremely difficult to pay back) is holding its four-day annual conference at the Doral resort from April 16 to 19. At the same time, the association has been pushing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to roll back a rule that requires payday lenders to determine if a customer can actually repay a loan before they give someone money. Something seems to be working: In January, the CFPB announced it will delay compliance with those rules and look into reversing them. In March, CFPB acting director and part-time vampire Mick Mulvaney announced he was dropping an investigation into a Kansas-based payday-lending operation.

2. The GEO Group private-prison bash. Private-prison-company stock was cratering at the end of Barack Obama's time in office after his Department of Justice announced the federal government would no longer work with private, for-profit prison operators. But the Trump administration rapidly rolled those rules back after taking power. Then Boca Raton's GEO Group, the second-largest private-prison firm in America, moved its yearly company gathering to the Trump Doral.

3. The Republican Party's parties. According to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Republican Governors Association funneled $408,588 to the Trump Doral for a conference in May 2017. Not to be outdone, the Republican National Committee spent $205,000 on events at the resort this past February and plans to hold its spring meeting there in May.

4. Big Candy's big event while also doing big lobbying. Per the Washington Post, the National Confectioners Association, which represents Hershey's, Mars, Jelly Belly, and other purveyors of refined sugar, has been pushing the federal government for years to roll back sugar-industry subsidies that the companies claim drive up the cost of creating their products by an estimated $280 million per year. With a new administration in the White House, the association (which says it booked the events in 2014 and 2015, before Trump was voted into office) brought 600 people to the Trump Doral in March 2017.

5. The insurance industry's love for the Trump Doral. The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the insurance industry's biggest lobbying group, really wants portions of the Wall Street-regulating Dodd-Frank Act revoked. It also wants the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau weakened. According to HuffPost, the association held its annual conference (called ALTA One) at the Miami-area golf course last October. In the meantime, Trump fought nearly every banking law the group has magically fought. Amazing how that works.

6. The Metals Service Center Institute's party after Trump began pipeline construction. The Metals Service Center Institute, which lobbies for industrial-metal-supply companies, sure wanted construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines to get moving again. Trump made sure that happened in February and March 2017. Then the institute held a big conference at the Trump Doral in May 2017, according to HuffPost. What a coincidence.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.