Fox News Judge Says Trump 'Bought Himself Enormous Headache' With G7 Doral Decision

Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News Business host Neil Cavuto that President Donald Trump had "bought himself an enormous headache" and violated the U.S. Constitution after Thursday's announcement that the 2020 G7 summit of world leaders would be held at the Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida.

Speaking on Cavuto: Coast to Coast after the announcement by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Napolitano said the decision to hold the summit at a property owned by Trump and his family was a clear violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. The emoluments clause prohibits the president from bestowing any money, gift or other benefit to foreign leaders, without the permission of Congress.

Cavuto referenced Mulvaney's claim that the decision did not violate the emoluments clause because the Miami resort would be operating "at cost" for the event, before turning to Napolitano and suggesting he might have a "different notion" of the constitutional clause.

"It's not my notion," replied Napolitano. "It's the Constitution's notion. The Constitution does not address profits. It addresses any present, as in a gift, any emolument as in cash of any kind whatever. I'm quoting the emoluments clause: from any king, prince or foreign state."

"If this were a meeting of the governors of the United States there'd be no emoluments clause problem," the judge continued. "The purpose of the emoluments clause is the keep the President of the United States of America from profiting off of foreign money—here we go again. Not in the campaign, but in an event or entity that he controls and is running."

"This is about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create."

Judge Andrew Napolitano
Judge Andrew Napolitano is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News, having worked for the network since 1998, JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

Cavuto then repeated the claim that Trump's golf resort would not make money on the event, but suggested it could still benefit from a "spillover effect" long after the summit. The judge again emphasized that he believed Mulvaney's claim was irrelevant.

"Most respectfully, Mr. Mulvaney's focus on profit—while it may make sense in the economic world, is not what the framers were concerned about," said Napolitano. "They were concerned about a gift or cash coming directly or indirectly to the President of the United States, even if it's done at a loss."

"The president owns shares of stock in corporation that is one of the owners of this, along with many other investors. He also owns shares of stock in the corporation that manages it," added the judge."Those corporations will receive a great deal of money from foreign heads of state because this is there. That's exactly, exactly what the emoluments clause was written to prohibit.

When asked what might happen as a result of the decision, Napolitano said he expects there to be legal consequences for Trump.

"I would imagine someone will file another lawsuit," he said. "There's two emoluments clause lawsuits going on now—one in Baltimore, and one in Washington D.C.—those are active, live cases. Expect a third one, probably in the federal district court in the southern part of Florida."

While Trump has previously praised Napolitano, his opinion seems to have soured after receiving criticism from the pundit earlier in the year. Napolitano has called Trump's behavior "criminal and impeachable." He is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News, having first joined the network in 1998.