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Trump pushes back, says his Florida resort is fit to host next year's G-7

President Donald Trump speaks during the final press

President Donald Trump speaks during the final press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron during the G7 summit Monday in Biarritz, France. Credit: AP/Francois Mori

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday pushed back against reports that his Miami-area golf resort grappled with bedbugs, as he continued to press the idea of hosting next year’s G-7 summit at one of his namesake properties.

As the president took to Twitter to defend his Trump National hotel in Doral, Florida, a group of top Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, issued a letter to Trump urging him against inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to next year’s summit.

Trump on Twitter knocked media coverage of last weekend’s summit in Biarritz, France, and accused Democrats of spreading reports on social media about a 2016 lawsuit filed by a Doral hotel guest who complained he woke up to bites and welts all over his body after staying in a $300-a-night room.

“No bedbugs at Doral,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located [for the next G-7] Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!”

On Monday, after Trump announced he was leaning toward having next year’s summit at his Trump-branded South Florida resort, reports of the 2016 lawsuit filed by New Jersey insurance executive Eric Linder quickly spread on social media.

Linder, in his lawsuit, complained that after staying at the Doral hotel in March 2016, he woke up to dozens of “welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms and torso.” He provided photos to back up his claim, including one circulated on social media Monday that showed red lumps dotting his neck.

In January 2017, days after Trump was sworn into office, the Trump Organization settled the lawsuit with Linder for an undisclosed amount, according to The Miami Herald, which was the first to report on the dispute.

Trump, in his Tuesday morning tweets, was undeterred by mounting criticism over his move to host foreign leaders at one of his properties. Government ethics experts say Trump’s push to use one of his branded properties again raises questions about whether the president is seeking to profit off the presidency. Trump also has used his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other top U.S. officials.

The president also has come under scrutiny for saying he is open to inviting Putin to next year’s summit, despite Russia’s removal from the powerful gathering of leaders in 2014 in response to Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

In a letter to Trump, Schumer and other top Democrats state “under no circumstances should President Putin be invited to participate in the G-7 until the Russian government undertakes demonstrable actions to show its willingness to behave responsibly both domestically and abroad.”

The letter was signed by Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.).

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