Although he’s been away from Mar-a-Lago for more than seven months, it didn’t take President Donald Trump very long on Wednesday to get back into the familiar rhythms of South Florida presidential life: setting Twitter ablaze before sunrise, conducting some official business and visiting his nearby golf course.
The president is back at his tropical White House for the first time since Easter. He arrived Tuesday night with first lady Melania Trump and son Barron for an extended Thanksgiving holiday.
While Trump’s Thanksgiving plans may depend on a forecast that includes a high chance of rain, it appears the president will be making a stop at his golf club in Jupiter during the day Friday.
According to an FAA advisory, airspace restrictions are in place for the area over his Jupiter club from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. The advisory covers the same location covered when Trump played golf in Jupiter in February with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ernie Els.
If he does visit his Jupiter club, drivers and holiday shoppers may face traffic tie-ups as his motorcade makes its way between Mar-a-Lago and the club just northeast of Donald Ross Road and Alternate A1A.
Trump appeared to be in good spirits Tuesday night after basking in the adoration of more than 100 supporters who greeted Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport. Before 6 a.m. Wednesday, however, the president had fired off angry tweets at UCLA basketball dad LaVar Ball and NFL players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Ball, known for a Trumpian immodesty when discussing the athletic prowess of himself and his three basketball-playing sons, has refused to thank the president for helping secure the release of his son and two other UCLA players who were arrested in China for shoplifting. Trump branded Ball an “ungrateful fool” in one of his pre-dawn tweets on Wednesday.
Trump was also briefed early Wednesday on the crash of a U.S. Navy jet into the sea near Japan, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told reporters.
Trump also told Twitter followers he planned to be “having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida (Mar-a-Lago).” Tax reform will be among the issues Trump discusses in his calls from Florida this week, Walters said.
At around 9:15 a.m., Trump left Mar-a-Lago for the 4½-mile drive to his Trump International Golf Club on Summit Boulevard just west of West Palm Beach.
As presidential motorcades go, Trump’s trek to the golf course and his return to Mar-a-Lago nearly five hours later weren’t as disruptive as his standard motorcade to or from the airport. Rather than shut down Southern Boulevard completely, police briefly blocked some key intersections as the president passed and allowed traffic to continue in the opposite direction.
At night, Trump tweeted once from Mar-a-Lago, retweeting his daughter Ivanka and saying the economy would improve with his proposed tax cuts.
During seven presidential visits to Mar-a-Lago between February and April, Trump played golf an estimated 14 times at Trump International. He shook up his Florida routine once in February by golfing at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump’s golf outings are often shrouded in mystery, perhaps because as a private citizen and then as a presidential candidate he often accused former President Barack Obama of spending too much time on the links.
“I love golf. It think it’s one of the greats, but I don’t have time,” Trump said at a 2015 rally in which he complained that Obama “played more golf last year than Tiger Woods.”
Obama golfed 333 times as president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who since the 1970s has been considered the foremost expert on presidential scheduling.
Before Wednesday’s visit, Knoller said he had tallied 49 visits by Trump to golf clubs, including 15 to Trump International and 23 to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. Trump’s last known round of golf was in Japan with Abe on Nov. 5.
Trump doesn’t always golf when he visits his golf properties. He attended a Super Bowl party at Trump International in February and in March conducted a working lunch with top administration officials at his Virginia golf club.
Since becoming president, Trump’s golf partners have included Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and professional golfers Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee have also joined Trump on the links. As president-elect, Trump golfed last December with Woods at Trump International.