The Slatest

Trump Plays Golf at His Virginia Club as U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 100,000

President Donald Trump walks from a SUV upon return to the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2020.
President Donald Trump walks from a SUV upon return to the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2020. MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

As President Donald Trump urges states to reopen their economies, he also seemed to want to send a message of normalcy on a long weekend by doing something he hasn’t done in a while: Go to one of his golf clubs. On Saturday, the commander in chief went to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. It marked the first time the president traveled to one of his golf courses in 75 days, by far the longest stretch since he moved into the White House.

On a day when the number of deaths in the United States from the coronavirus got close to reaching the 100,000-mark, the presidential motorcade arrived at the Sterling club at 10:27 a.m. Reporters at the scene noted that while Secret Service members were all wearing masks, Trump and his golfing buddies went mask free. Footage from the golf outing appeared to show Trump riding in his golf cart by himself without a caddy. And there were at least some exceptions to social distancing rules as Trump could be seen patting another golfer on the shoulder at one point.

The last time Trump went to one of his clubs to golf was on March 8, when he went to the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. That was the weekend he spent to his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he hosted the Brazilian president and several Brazilian officials, one of whom ended up testing positive for COVID-19 shortly after the trip. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he hasn’t golfed since then though as he spent two “working weekends” at Camp David but it isn’t clear whether he played golf there.

Trump’s lack of golf has clearly been on his mind lately. “I’d really like to play golf but it’s too busy right now,” he told reporters earlier this month. He also called into a PGA golf program on NBC last weekend and talked about how much he yearned for the sport. “I do miss it. I haven’t played, really, since this problem that we have started. I haven’t been able to play golf for a while. I’ve been very busy, and I think that it’s just one of those things, but we’re getting back to normal,” Trump said.

Trump, of course, repeatedly criticized President Barack Obama when he played golf during his presidency. On Saturday, many pointed out to an October 2014 tweet in which Trump was incredulous that Obama could play golf “with all the problems and difficulties facing the U.S.” He also criticized Obama that month because he decided to play golf when there was “a major meeting on the N.Y.C. Ebola outbreak.” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski posted a clip on Twitter of Trump calling into Fox and Friends to complain Obama was playing golf when there were a whopping two cases of Ebola in the United States.