Sunday, June 18, 2017

Trump heads to Camp David for first stay as president

WASHINGTON — President Trump and the first family took their first trip Saturday to Camp David, a presidential retreat in the mountains of Maryland, and a far cry from the more luxurious digs Trump has turned to for his weekend getaways.
Trump boarded the presidential helicopter, Marine One, on the South lawn of the White House around 11 a.m. Saturday. First lady Melania and their son, Barron, also made the trip. Melania Trump’s parents joined the family.
Trump has come under fire for spending many weekends at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort club, and his golf course in central New Jersey. He has also visited his penthouse at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
The trips, which include security, cost millions and can be a logistical nightmare for local communities.
And while it has reportedly increased business at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, which has been dubbed Trump's Winter White House, some critics complain it gives the resort's wealthy members the advantage of more access to the president.
The White House has defended Trump's weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago.
“Presidents always travel. And I think the president, wherever he goes, he carries the apparatus of the White House,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in April.  “The president will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation's problems. He (works) seven days a week. This is where he goes to see his family. He brings people down there. This is part of being president.”
Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Palm Beach resort in April.
Camp David is a 25-minute helicopter ride from Washington, D.C. The nearest town is Thurmont, a small town of 6,400 people.The camp is in the Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland. The National Park Service, which runs the park, issued temporary closure notices Thursday for some areas “due to increased security measures.’’
The camp has a single golf hole, a theater, a hot tub, two swimming pools, a softball field, horse stables, tennis courts, a bowling alley and a skeet shooting range, along with trails for hiking, jogging and biking.
Other Republican presidents, including George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, visited Camp David frequently. President Barack Obama visited dozens of times.
Trump is scheduled to return to the White House Sunday evening. The visit will be a lot longer than he predicted others would last.
“Camp David is very rustic, it's nice, you'd like it,’’ Trump said in an interview earlier this year with two European newspapers. “You know how long you'd like it? For about 30 minutes."
Contributing: Ledyard King, Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

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