- George Bennett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
President Donald Trump wrapped up his latest weekend at his Mar-a-Lago Club on Sunday by using two of his favorite activities — tweeting and golfing — to urge Congress to enact tax cuts and agree on a spending plan to keep the federal government running beyond Dec. 22.
Trump hit the links at Trump International Golf Club with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a frequent critic and sometime ally of the president. The White House, often mum about the president’s golfing, volunteered that Trump and Graham were “discussing the tax cuts and reform legislation and the importance of fully funding our national security needs in upcoming government spending negotiations.”
Before making the 4½-mile trip from Mar-a-Lago to the golf course, Trump told Twitter followers: “Getting closer and closer on the Tax Cut Bill. Shaping up even better than projected. House and Senate working very hard and smart. End result will be not only important, but SPECIAL!”
Trump for months has said he wants a tax bill before Christmas. The House and Senate, both controlled by the GOP, have passed separate bills without Democratic support and will try to iron out differences in a conference committee. Congress also needs a spending agreement, which will require some Democratic votes, to finance the government into 2018. The president signed a short-term spending measure Friday that keeps the government running through Dec. 22.
After more than four hours at the golf course, Trump left around 2:10 p.m. Across Summit Boulevard from the golf club, a woman held a sign that read “Real News, Fake President” and a man held a sign that read “Season’s Greetings — U R on the Naughty List Happy Holidays.”
As the president neared Mar-a-Lago, a group of Trump supporters cheered the motorcade along Southern Boulevard, waving signs and flags. Larger-than-life paintings of Trump and first lady Melania Trump were propped outside a van with a “President Trump, Thank You” sign.
When the motorcade returned to Mar-a-Lago, Trump was spotted in a red “U.S.A.” cap and a blue sweater or pullover waving to a crowd around the pool for a holiday benefit for A Safe Haven for Newborns. The event’s chairwoman, Lexye Aversa, is a member of the Mar-a-Lago Club.
Before heading out of town, Trump fired off a tweet complaining that there had been “Very little discussion of all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media. They are out of control — correct reporting means nothing to them. Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed…a stain on America!”
CNN erroneously reported for several hours on Friday that a 2016 email gave Trump’s presidential campaign a decryption key and web address for hacked Wikileaks documents before they were made public. In fact, the email was sent to the Trump campaign after the Wikileaks documents were widely available.
CNN conceded late Friday that forwarding information to the Trump campaign that was already publicly available made the story “less significant than CNN initially reported.”
Trump left Mar-a-Lago shortly after 5 p.m. for the trip to Palm Beach International Airport. Supporters outnumbered opponents along the motorcade route to the airport. Air Force One took off for Washington at about 5:30 p.m. to end Trump’s ninth Palm Beach visit since becoming president.
Trump has spent about 24 days in Palm Beach since taking office, roughly 7 percent of his presidency. He is expected to return to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas, but the White House has not announced specific dates or details.
Staff writer Christine Stapleton and photographer Bruce R. Bennett contributed to this story.