Trump Hosting Japanese Prime Minister at Mar-a-Lago 'as a Gift'

On Friday, President Trump and wife Melania will welcome Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

ByMatthew Claiborne
February 08, 2017, 8:14 PM
PHOTO: President Trump is to meet with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to members of the news media before boarding Marine One and departing the White House, Feb. 3, 2017, in Washington. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets media reporters following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Nov. 17, 2016, in New York City.
Getty Images

— -- President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are set to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, first aboard Air Force One and then at the president's south Florida retreat.

The visit marks the first time the president has hosted a foreign leader at his resort while in office.

After ethical questions arose about how the Japanese leader’s visit will be funded, a White House spokesperson tells ABC News that Abe and his wife will stay at the exclusive golf resort "as a personal gift." Membership at Mar-a-Lago can cost up to $200,000.

Trump's connections to his business empire have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest as well as potential violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits benefiting from foreign leaders.

Trump has signed documents stepping down from leadership positions in his companies, and turned control over to his sons.

The two world leaders plan to golf together, although the White House would not confirm whether or not President Trump would use the $3,800 golf club previously given to him by Abe back in November following his election victory.

According the White House, the Japanese Prime Minister’s staff will not stay at Mar-a-Lago, as that would involve possible ethical violations.

"The [government] is covering the costs of the delegation to stay off property, as is customary," a White House spokesperson says.

Presidents have hosted world leaders at their homes or private residences in previous administrations, but they stayed as guests of the president.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events