WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump broke with his routine and, instead of spending the weekend at one of his own golf clubs or luxury properties, he visited – with his family – Camp David, the traditional presidential retreat in the Maryland hills near Washington.
Accustomed to luxury hotels and sophisticated resort complexes, whereby he established himself as a force in real estate development, Trump had joked that Camp David was a “very rustic” spot, adding “You know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.”
So, it came as a surprise on Saturday when the president – this time with wife Melania and son Barron – for the first time decided to spend the rest of the Father’s Day weekend at the presidential compound in Catoctin, Maryland, 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Washington.
Trump did not forget to take his cellphone, however, and on Sunday morning he sent out a series of Twitter messages hailing what he touted as progress on his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
“The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm...” Trump tweeted, using the term “witch hunt” to refer to the investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
“Camp David is a very special place. An honor to have spent the weekend there. Military runs it so well and are so proud of what they do!” the president tweeted later on Sunday.
The first lady also went on Twitter to post an image taken at Camp David of her, Barron and the president enjoying the atmosphere at the compound.
In his almost five months in office, Trump so far has opted to spend many of his weekends at his West Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago club and resort, which has been dubbed the “Winter White House,” going so far as to host Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe there.
On other occasions, Trump has traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The luxury weekends at spots he owns, have sparked criticism from the Democratic opposition and many members of the public, who have pointed to the high cost of presidential travel – given the stringent security requirements – and Trump’s possible conflicts of interest over using the presidency as a platform for publicizing his businesses.
Camp David, on the other hand, does not generate additional costs to the government, given that the installation is managed and maintained on an ongoing basis by the US Armed Forces and kept ready for the president and his entourage to visit at any time.