Trump laments G-7 move from Doral after bipartisan pushback

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Trump laments G-7 move from Doral after bipartisan pushback

  • Trump said it would have been the greatest G-7 ever if held at his Doral resort outside Miami

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump lashed out Monday at critics who prompted him to move next year’s Group of Seven summit from his private golf club in Florida, claiming he would have hosted it for free and now it will end up costing taxpayers “a fortune.”
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Trump said it would have been the greatest G-7 ever if held at his Doral resort outside Miami, but “Democrats went crazy” with criticisms that he would have violated the “phony” emoluments clause in the Constitution banning presidents from receiving gifts from foreign countries.
“I was willing to do this for free,” Trump said Monday, comparing it to his decision not to take his $400,000 presidential salary. “It will cost a fortune for the country.”
Trump brushed aside the criticism that hosting the summit would have been one big promotion for his brand. “You don’t think I get enough promotion? I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
Trump reversed course Saturday on hosting the G-7 at Doral after Republicans joined Democrats in raising alarm. His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said that the president had realized that “it looks lousy” to steer business to his own property.
Mulvaney said last week that Doral was “far and away” the best venue because of its location near the Miami airport and separate buildings to host each country’s delegation.
Mulvaney listed more than a half dozen states visited in the screening process, including Tennessee, North Carolina, Hawaii and Utah. But convention, economic development and tourism officials in several of those states said they were unaware of any visits, and some didn’t even know their state was in the running.
Trump had earlier tweeted that the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, was an alternate location but wasn’t specific when asked at the Cabinet meeting where the summit will be held now.
“I don’t think it will be as exciting,” he said.


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”