Trump Travels to His Golf Club in Va.

President Trump traveled to his golf club in Virginia on Sunday.

According to pool reports, he was “glimpsed wearing a red baseball cap” at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.

Pool reports mentioned that Trump has phone calls and lunch scheduled and “may hit a few balls” while at his course.

A New York Times photographer spotted Trump wearing his red cap and golf shoes arriving at his Virginia club.

An NBC News editor noted that the president has now traveled to a Trump-branded property for 15 weeks in a row since becoming president.

Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators spelled out the word “RESIST!” in a protest at the president’s Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes in California on Saturday.

[The Hill]




As North Korea Brews, Trump Again in Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump arrived for another weekend at his languid Florida resort on Thursday, this time without the usual retinue of top aides who have accompanied him in the past, even as global tensions flare.

Trump’s jaunt to Mar-a-Lago, his seventh since taking office in January, coincides with a closely watched anniversary in North Korea, where analysts have said the rogue regime may be preparing for a sixth nuclear test.

It wouldn’t be the first time Trump confronted a global incident from the confines of his terra-cotta-roofed oceanfront mansion.

During a visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this year, North Korea test fired ballistic missiles, prompting an impromptu strategy session on Mar-a-Lago’s dining patio. Last weekend, as Trump was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, he announced US missile strikes from Mar-a-Lago after conferring with top aides in a specially designed conference room.

A White House official said aides from the National Security Council were accompanying Trump during his trip to Florida this weekend, and the secure facility — kitted out with video-conferencing technology and other classified features — stands at the ready.
But other top aides, including senior advisers and Trump’s chief of staff, were spending the holiday weekend back in Washington.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump boarded Air Force One solo. Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, escorted the President to Joint Base Andrews in his armored limousine but didn’t make the trip to Florida. Priebus said he had “things to go over with him for next week so I jumped in the motorcade,” but wasn’t scheduled to fly south for the weekend.

A White House official said the staffing footprint at Mar-a-Lago would be “very light” because it’s a holiday weekend, suggesting Easter would be a chance for Trump to spend time with his wife and children and so that top staffers could spend time with their own families.

But even amid his restful stay in South Florida, Trump could find himself confronting another provocative move from North Korea. The birthday Saturday of the nation’s founder could prompt the country to conduct its sixth nuclear test, according to experts.

It would be the first test under the Trump administration, and his response will be scrutinized in Pyongyang and Washington. Trump has spoken out aggressively against North Korea this week, saying that his recent meeting with China’s Xi made him realize how complicated the problem was.

Speaking Thursday, Trump said he wasn’t sure if his administration’s decision to drop a “Mother of all Bombs” on an ISIS enclave in Afghanistan was meant as a display of American resolve to North Korea.

“I don’t know if this sends a message,” Trump said at the White House. “It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.”

Trump said he’d gained important cooperation from Xi during their talks last weekend and in subsequent phone calls.

“I will say this, I think China has really been working very hard and I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He’s a terrific person,” Trump said. “We spent a lot of time together in Florida and he’s a very special man so we’ll see how it goes.”
Administration officials maintain that Trump will be kept well informed of activity in North Korea by his team, should the need arise, and will continue to be updated through the weekend.

It was standard practice in the Bush and Obama administrations for a senior national security aide (often at the deputy national security adviser level or higher) to always travel with the president, including on vacations.

One former senior administration official said this was key advice that the Bush team offered the Obama team during that transition. Physical proximity to the President during a national security event was seen as critical for decision-making and keeping the president informed.

A senior White House foreign policy aide told reporters Thursday that, broadly, military options were already being assessed with regard to North Korea, and those options would arise during Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Asia this week.
Pence is due to arrive in Seoul on Sunday.

(h/t CNN)

Trump Spotted at Florida Golf Club

President Trump was spotted playing golf on Sunday for the second day in a row at his West Palm Beach, Fla. golf club, according to reports.

The president also traveled to Trump International Golf Club for a round of golf on Saturday.

The president left for Trump International Golf Club around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday wearing a white polo shirt and red cap, according to White House pool reports.

Trump on Thursday left the White House for Mar-a-Lago where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi left the resort on Friday afternoon, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Trump left the golf club at 2:30 p.m., according to pool reports. Trump is scheduled to return to Washington later on Sunday,

(h/t The Hill)

Appearance of Trump Helicopter at Mar-a-Lago Raises Questions

President Trump’s personal helicopter spent the weekend parked in a prime spot on the front lawn of Mar-a-Lago, despite the fact that Trump is barred from using it while president.

The Palm Beach Daily News reported that the Sikorsky S-76, with “TRUMP” emblazoned on the tail and step, landed on the club’s newly paved helipad Saturday afternoon. Palm Beach Fire-Rescue spokesman Sean Baker told the paper that the Secret Service requested a fire engine to be on standby.

“We were surprised,” Baker said. “This was not something we knew was coming.”

The helicopter remained on the helipad Sunday, but left after a few hours. The White House didn’t respond to questions about the reason the helicopter was there. Baker said he did not know what the helicopter would be used for and said there were no reports of anyone arriving or being picked up by the helicopter Saturday.

The Secret Service says standard security protocol requires the president to fly on either Air Force One, a jumbo jet, or Marine One, a helicopter. The agency says Trump was never on the helicopter, though the president has not used Marine One for his visits to the resort.

Trump owns two Sikorsky S-76 helicopters, which also bear his family seal.

(h/t Fox News)

Donald Trump Takes 15th Golf Trip in 11 Weeks Since Becoming President

Donald Trump is taking his 15th golf trip in the 11 weeks since becoming President, as he spends another weekend at one of his own luxury resorts.

The President is coming off the back of a high-stakes summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has closed a sixth of his country’s golf courses since 2011 and will not play a sport which maintains a reputation for decadence and corruption in China.

But President Xi left the President’s luxury Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday night, and by Saturday morning Mr Trump was on the links at his International Golf Club in Florida, the White House press pool was informed.

During a campaign rally last year, Mr Trump referred to a string of his golf clubs when claiming: “You know what – and I love golf – but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again, I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again, I own Doral in Miami, I don’t think I’d ever see many of the places that I have.

“I don’t ever think that I’d see anything, I just wanna stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Who’s gonna leave? I mean, who’s gonna leave?”

He is now back on the green for the 15th time since 20 January. The trip also marks the 10th weekend in a row President Trump has spent at one of his own properties.

Thanks in particular to increased security bills at the waterfront Mar-a-Lago resort, he is on course to spend more on travel in a single year than the $97 million Barack Obama spent during his eight years in office.

The billionaire has already racked up $23 million in travel bills, at roughly 10 times the rate of his predecessor.

While still a private citizen, the billionaire tycoon repeatedly criticised former President Barack Obama for playing golf rather than attending to his presidential duties.

“Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.,” he wrote in one 2014 tirade.

In a similar attack back in 2013, Fox News pundit and staunch Trump backer Sean Hannity wrote: “Glad our arrogant Pres is enjoying his taxpayer funded golf outing after announcing the US should take military action against Syria.”

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s cruise missile barrage against a Syrian air base, the tweet is being re-circulated on social media.

(h/t The Independent)

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Meeting With China’s Xi Jinping Raises Ethics Concerns

President Trump’s first face-to-face meeting today with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, will take place at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s family-owned resort in Florida. The laid-back setting is meant to give the two world leaders a chance to build a rapport, but government ethics experts question whether that’s appropriate.

Past presidents have hosted key leaders at government-owned properties like Camp David, but Mr. Trump is giving a personal touch for Xi.

The U.S.-China relationship has been under pressure over trade, North Korea and China’s expansion in the South China Sea.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump repeatedly blasted China, accusing Beijing of unfair trade practices that he equated to “rape” and “theft,” reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan.

“We give state dinners to the heads of China. I said, ‘Why are you doing state dinners for them?’ They’re ripping us left and right,” Mr. Trump said.

Today the president tries to reboot the relationship by welcoming China’s president and his wife to Mar-a-Lago.

“It’s a venue that connotes the U.S. president is interested in building a personal relationship with Xi Jinping,” said Evan Medeiros, former National Security Commission China director in the Obama administration.

Between trade disputes and the threat of North Korea, the two leaders have plenty to discuss. But exactly where those conversations take place became a concern to Congress after Mr. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to openly discuss North Korea’s missile test over dinner in February.

The government accountability office has now agreed to probe whether Mar-a-Lago has a secure space for classified communications, the type of Secret Service screening measures used on resort guests, and how the government ensures travel-related expenses are fair and reasonable.

“I’m meeting with the president of China on Thursday and Friday in Palm Beach, Florida, and I think we’re going to have a very interesting talk,” Mr. Trump said.

Also in question is whether the Trump family financially benefits from such a high-profile visit.

“The visit and the visit of the foreign leader attracts large amount of publicity, not just domestically but internationally,” government ethics specialist Kathleen Clark said.

Mr. Trump gave up the position of club president before inauguration. His son, Donald Trump Jr., now holds that title, according to a Florida alcohol license obtained by CBS News.

“When President Trump arranges to meet a foreign leader at one of his branded properties like Mar-a-Lago, what he is doing is he is actually using government office for private gain,” Clark said.

The White House has not responded to inquiries about whether or not the Chinese delegation will pay for any services while visiting Mar-a-Lago.

(h/t CBS News)

President Heads to Trump Golf Club in Virginia for “Meetings”

President Trump went to Trump National Golf Club in Virginia on Saturday for meetings.

It was not immediately clear from pool reports who the president was planning to meet with.

It is the president’s eighth weekend in a row making a trip to a Trump-owned property.

Trump frequently criticized former President Obama for golfing on weekends and vacations during his presidency.

Trump’s visit to Virginia comes one day after House Republicans pulled legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare moments before a planned vote. Repealing ObamaCare was a key campaign promise of Trump and most GOP lawmakers and candidates over the last few election cycles.

(h/t The Hill)

Trump to Spend 7th Consecutive Weekend at Trump-Branded Property, at Enormous Cost to Taxpayers

President Trump doesn’t want to spend federal dollars on after-school programs, meals for poor people, or heating assistance that helps keep folks alive.

But he has no problem wasting more than $3 million a pop to spend weekends at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Trump has already made four trips there since becoming president on January 20, and on Friday he confirmed he’s headed there this weekend for the fifth time.

Despite vowing during his campaign that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off,” Trump has visited Trump-branded properties each of the past six weekends. That streak will hit seven when Trump lands at Mar-a-Lago later Friday.

In fact, Trump has spent time at Trump-branded property every weekend of his presidency other than the very first, when he created chaos throughout the country by signing a Muslim ban executive order that was later stayed by a federal court.

As Quartz reported on Friday, after this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago. For that amount, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year.

On Thursday, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the draconian cuts included in the Trump administration’s proposed budget by arguing that the federal government can’t ask “a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for” programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But one wonders whether those struggling Americans would rather have public radio or dole out their share of the $3.3 million a self-proclaimed billionaire is spending each weekend to mingle with his ludicrously wealthy club members down in Florida.

(h/t ThinkProgress)


Donald Trump Takes His 4th Vacation in 6 Weeks

President Donald Trump returns to South Florida again Friday and will stay at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach.

Trump arrived in Orlando at 1:08 p.m. and was greeted by Gov. Rick Scott. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Education Secretary Betty DeVos were on Air Force One, along with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka, according to the press pool report.

Trump visited Orlando to tour Saint Andrew Catholic School, where he visited a fourth-grade class. Scott, who campaigned on expanding school choices for parents, and Rubio joined Trump at the school.

Students gave Trump hand-drawn cards celebrating Florida’s birthday.

Trump beckoned two students who had welcomed him to pose for a picture, and told them, “We’re going to make you famous, OK?”

(h/t The Miami Herald)

Caught in Lie, White House Reverse Trump’s Golf Game

President Donald Trump played a full round of golf Sunday, enjoying once again a habit he regularly assailed Barack Obama for. After initially saying Trump had only played a few holes, the White House reversed itself Monday after professional golfer Rory McIlroy posted on his website that he had played 18 holes with the president.

“As stated yesterday the President played golf. He intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Monday. “He also had a full day of meetings, calls and interviews for the new NSA, which he is continuing today before returning to Washington, D.C. tonight.”

This weekend marks Trump’s third straight at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he has taken to calling the “Winter White House.”

Trump regularly panned Obama for his penchant for hitting the links, but Trump made it to the golf course far faster than the previous two presidents, waiting just two weeks before playing his first round. Trump recently golfed with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and is expected to conduct more such golf diplomacy.

(h/t Politico)