The White House said Friday that conditions at a snubbed Utah resort could have made visitors ‘sick’ due to the high altitude – as top officials continued to defend the selection of the president’s own Doral golf course to host the G7 summit.
‘We had one site that we looked at, I won’t name what site it was, but the altitude could have made people sick and Oxygen tanks would have been brought in,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told ‘Fox and Friends’ Friday.
The the snubbed site with the altitude issue is located in Utah, a state that White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney mentioned as a finalist along with Hawaii and Florida.
Staff at world-class ski resorts around Park City, Utah say health problems for visitors are very infrequent – although they do stock Oxygen for any guests who might experience altitude sickness.
‘The altitude could have made people sick and oxygen tanks would have been brought in,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham Friday
At the Stein Erikson lodge – Utah’s ‘only five-star resort and spa’ – mini canisters of Oxygen sell for $15. ‘We do have it in the gift shop, spa and front desk,’ a receptionist told DailyMail.com, speaking from a high-end mid-mountain resort located about 8,400 feet above sea level.
It also has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course – an obvious perk for President Trump during the June 2020 summit.
At the Montage resort in Deer Valley – another location state development officials identified as suitable for an event like the G7 – small Oxygen canisters go for $12. It is for sale at the spa, which also offers altitude tea for anyone who gets a ‘bit dizzy,’ according to a concierge.
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah told DailyMail.com Deer Valley is well situated to host the event, which instead will be taking place in June 2020 at the president’s golf course in Miami.
‘We hosted the Olympics so I’m sure we can host the G7,’ Chaffetz said.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney mentioned states that got passed over – Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Hawaii, and California
The Montage resort has oxygen canisters on hand for guests who may suffer from altitude sickness
The Stein Eriksin lodge boasts ‘the finest amenities, and secluded alpine charm’ – plus oxygen for sale in the spa
BREATH OF FRESH AIR: The resorts are located at about 8,400 feet
Utah is home to Sen. Mitt Romney, who blasted Trump’s call to the president of Ukraine
IT’S A GAS: The White House has twice raised the issue of altitude for why another site was not selected
‘It’s world class,’ said Lee Lonsberry, press secretary to Republican Utah Rep. Rob Bishop.
In August, Salt Lake City became the first city outside New York to host the UN’s civil society conference. Eight thousand people registered for the event, held in the city’s Salt Palace.
‘There are plenty of hotel rooms in Utah,’ said Pete Codella, an officials with the Utah governor’s Office of Economic Development. ‘We had not heard about Utah locations being considered for the G7. Of course, Utah is happy to host anyone interested in meeting or visiting our great state,’ he said.
The White House raised security, airport access, parking, and available rooms as factors in the decision made by a team – which got a direct recommendation from President Trump that his private club be considered.
Sean Stinson of Visit Salt Lake noted that Bill and Hillary Clinton visited Utah to ski in Deer Valley while Clinton was president, and President Bush also visited.
Another notable resident, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who delivered a blistering floor speech against the president’s Syria policy and called the president’s call to Ukraine ‘deeply troubling,’ bought a huge home in the Deer Valley resort area after his 2012 election loss.
Although the resorts are as much as a mile high, ‘I’ve never heard of altitude sickness being much of a thing in the Park City area and I lived there,’ he said. ‘If it’s the group I’m thinking of, I don’t know how fit they all are,’ Stinson observed.
Grisham noted that an interagency team scouted locations for taxpayers before the final selection was made.
‘We had members of our military office, Secret Service, advance teams. We had several people, the State Department, go out to ten different states and look at 12 different sites. All of them came back and made the recommendations to the president that Doral is the perfect place to hold such a summit.
Mulvaney told reporters Thursday the president’s club was ‘far and away – the best physical facility for this meeting’ and won praise from the scouting group.
‘There’s separate buildings with their own rooms, separate and apart from each building, so that one country can have a building, another country can have another, you folks could have your building for the press. And obviously, the common areas are going to be perfect for our needs down there,’ he said.
Mulvaney also brought up the oxygen issue.
‘I mean, there was one place — I won’t say where it was — where we actually had to figure out if we were going to have to have oxygen tanks for the participants because of the altitude. So, yeah, there’s just — there’s limitations in other places,’ Mulvaney said.
But asked by DailyMail.com if the White House would reveal a paper trail of how it decided to select Doral, Mulvaney said: ‘If you want to see how we did this, the answer is no.’
Romney also brushed off howls by outside government watchdog groups. ‘There’s no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape or form,’ Mulvaney said of the president, saying Trump would not take make any money over the event.
Former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub tweeted Friday: ‘Trump is not be subject to the conflict of interest statute but, as the owner of the Trump Organization, he is subject to the Procurement Integrity Act. We need to know what information he obtained while he was participating in the selection of Doral for the G7.’
Another finalist that lost out was in Hawaii. Mulvaney said other losers were located in California, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee.