President Donald Trump defended his decision to hit the golf links Memorial Day weekend amid stay-home orders and a rising coronavirus death told, lashing out at former President Barack Obama and likely 2020 opponent Joe Biden.
Trump’s defense came on the morning of Memorial Day, just before he traveled to Arlington National Cemetery for a ceremony that started 30 minutes late. Online, he went after Joe Biden for his ‘poor work ethic’ after Biden blasted the president for tweeting ‘from his golf cart’ over the weekend, as the coronavirus death toll approached 100,000.
Trump began his tweets with media criticism – noting he had not played golf since the start of coronavirus shut-downs in March.
President Donald Trump defended his decision to hit the golf links Memorial Day weekend
‘Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin – I knew this would happen!’ Trump wrote.
‘What they don’t say is that it was my first golf in almost … 3 months and, if I waited 3 years, they would do their usual “hit” pieces anyway. They are sick with hatred and dishonesty. They are truly deranged!’ Trump lashed out.
Then he trained his fire on political rivals. ‘They don’t mention Sleepy Joe’s poor work ethic, or all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to … Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint? He also played moments after the brutal killing by ISIS of a wonderful young man. Totally inappropriate – and it was me who shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. I was left a MESS!’ Trump wrote.
President Trump lashed out at the media for covering his weekend rounds of golf
He also blasted Joe Biden, who faulted him for tweeting ‘from a golf cart’
Trump also tore into predecessor Barack Obama
Joe Biden blasted Trump for ‘tweeting from your golf cart’
While campaign for president, Trump routinely attacked Obama’s golfing. While in office, he has spent 400 days at his own properties, according to NBC News – about a third of his term.
His weekend golf outings were at his course in Virginia, which has begun reopening although Virginia, neighboring Maryland, and Washington, D.C. are also seeing persistent coronavirus infections and deaths.
On Sunday, Trump opted to hit the links after he encouraged churches to reopen for services with a dramatic Friday press statement where he warned governors they must make services ‘essential’ functions that can remain open despite early outbreaks at religious gatherings.
While Washington D.C. remains under a stay-at-home order, parts of Virginia and Maryland have entered phase one of reopening, which allows religious institutions to reopen with certain restrictions in place with an emphasis on social distancing, wearing masks and deep cleanings.
Some churches in the southern part of Virginia have opened. Maryland churches are allowed to open at 50 per cent capacity. The president and first lady will be in Baltimore on Monday for a Memorial Day event.
Trump, however, arrived at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., on Sunday morning. He was spotted leaving the White House wearing a white polo shirt and a white baseball cap.
Golfer Bill Hurley III also was spotted getting into the motorcade at the White House.
President Trump was seen driving his own golf cart on the 800-acre private golf club he owns about 20 minutes south of Washington D.C. A bevy of carts followed him, likely consisting of fellow players and his Secret Service agents.
President Donald Trump is seen playing golf Sunday at his Trump National Golf Course outside of Washington D.C.
The president is seen enjoying a game of golf at one of his clubs on Sunday after encouraging churches to reopen for services
Trump, however, arrived at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., on Sunday morning wearing a white polo shirt and a white baseball cap
President Trump was seen driving his own golf cart on the 800-acre private golf club he owns about 20 minutes south of Washington D.C
A bevy of carts followed followed Trump, likely consisting of fellow players and his Secret Service agents
President Trump hits a golf ball from near his cart during his Sunday game at his Washington D.C. area golf course
President Trump and his golfing party are seen on Sunday – the second day in a row he was on his Washington D.C. area golf course
President Donald Trump is pictured the putting green during his Sunday round of golf
But Melania Trump, on Sunday, remembered the lives lost to the coronavirus.
‘We mourn every life lost to #COVID19. We will pray for their families & loved ones on this somber day, & always,’ the first lady tweeted.
Her tribute comes as The New York Times presented a dramatic front page on Sunday, which included the names and descriptions of 1,000 people who have died from the coronavirus. The president has ordered flags at half-staff to remember those who died from the virus.
Already a church in New Jersey has defied its governor and reopened its doors after Trump issued his order. The Solid Rock Baptist Church in the southern part of the state welcomed worshipers on Sunday even though Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has not lifted his closure order.
Murphy told CNN he spoke to President Trump late Friday about churches but wasn’t ready to open them in his state.
‘I would hope we would get to houses of worship sooner than later. But we want to make sure we do it right, responsibly, and that we don’t kill anybody by doing it too fast,’ he said Sunday on ‘State of the Union.’
But the opening comes after Trump, in a dramatic announcement on Friday, announced he would require governors to reopen churches and other houses of worship and exempt them from coronavirus lockdowns.
‘Today I’m identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogue[s] and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services,’ he said in the White House briefing room.
President Donald Trump on Sunday leaves the White House to head to his golf course for the second day in a row
Billy Hurley III, second from left, walks with others to get in to President Trump’s motorcade
A woman gives the finger to the motorcade carrying President Donald Trump as it approaches the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday
Golfer Billy Hurley joined President Trump’s motorcade at the White House on Sunday
Dr. Deborah Birx, who coordinates the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned that churches are not safe for everyone to attend.
She urged vulnerable people to stay home.
‘Although it may be safe for some to go to churches and social distance, it may not be safe for those with pre-existing conditions, and that’s why in phase one and phase two, we’ve asked for those individuals with vulnerabilities to really ensure that they are protected and sheltering in place while we open up America,’ she said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
On Saturday, he started his Memorial Day weekend with a game of golf. It marked the first time the president hit the links since March 8, his last weekend in Mar-a-Lago before the coronavirus shuttered normal life.
The president, however, failed to practice social distancing when he was at his members-only club on Saturday.
Trump, who has repeatedly refused to wear a face mask despite CDC recommendations, was seen once again mask-less and flouting social distancing requirements to stay six feet from other people by shaking hands with a fellow mask-less golfer.
Melania Trump, on Sunday, remembered the lives lost to the coronavirus. ‘We mourn every life lost to #COVID19. We will pray for their families & loved ones on this somber day, & always,’ the first lady tweeted
President Trump’s motorcade heads into his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, Sunday
President Trump’s motorcade en route to his golf course in Sterling, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C.
One New Jersey church reopened after Trump’s call, which defied the governor’s shut down order; above, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in South Orange, New Jersey, placed photos of parishioners on the pews
The New York Times paid tribute to those who died of the coronavirus, listing names and descriptions on its front page on Sunday as the death rate nears 100,000
President Donald Trump was seen shaking hands with a fellow golfer Saturday
Dressed in a white golf shirt, white cap and dark trousers, Trump waved at cameras as he played on the course on Saturday
President Trump drives his own golf cart when he plays golf but Secret Service are always nearby
This was the longest duration he has gone without visiting one of his clubs since becoming president, according to NBC News, which calculated he has visited his own properties on more than 400 days or around a third of his term.
Trump has complained on more than one occasion that he has missed playing the sport during the pandemic.
‘I’d really like to play golf but it’s too busy right now,’ he said earlier this month.
He also called into an NBC PGA special last weekend and said he hadn’t started since ‘this problem’ began.
‘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,’ he said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, who coordinates the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned that churches are not safe for everyone to attend. She urged vulnerable people to stay home. ‘Although it may be safe for some to go to churches and social distance, it may not be safe for those with pre-existing conditions, and that’s why in phase one and phase two, we’ve asked for those individuals with vulnerabilities to really ensure that they are protected and sheltering in place while we open up America,’ she said on ‘Fox News Sunday’
Dr Birx said during Friday’s White House briefing that people could play golf and other activities over the weekend – often seen as the unofficial start of summer – but cautioned people to keep complying with social distancing.
‘Please, as you go out this weekend, understand that you can be outside and you can play golf, and you can play tennis with marked balls,’ she said.
On Friday, Trump bowed to pressure from the Democrats to fly flags at half-staff at the White House, the Capitol and the National Mall to mark the start of three days of commemoration of the victims of coronavirus over Memorial Day weekend.
This comes as the U.S. death toll continued to soar. More than 97,000 people have died and cases have topped 1.6 million.