President Trump appeared to flout social distancing guidelines while golfing for the third time this week in Virginia as heJoe Biden slammed him for doing so amid coronavirus spikes.
Trump kicked off the Fourth of July holiday weekend by escaping the embattled political sphere of Washington D.C. to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling.
Photos taken at the private golf club show Trump arriving just before 10am wearing a white polo shirt, red ball cap and dark pants.
Neither he nor anyone in his party appear to wear face masks, despite a spike in cases this past week in Virginia.
New York Daily News reports that a small group of protesters welcomed Trump to the greens, including one woman who hoisted a sign reading ‘Trump is a Traitor.’
The icy reception is part of a chill swelling among discontent citizens around the US as tensions mount over barely contained coronavirus spikes, a breakdown in law enforcement and a Russian bounty scandal.
President Donald Trump (left, red cap) arrived to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Friday as the Fourth of the July weekend begins
Neither Trump (far left) no anyone in his golfing party appeared to wear face masks, despite coronavirus cases spiking in Virginia
Several states, including Virginia, have seen concerning spikes in coronavirus cases over the last several weeks that have re-shuttered businesses and doubled down on public health rules.
Mayor Bobby Dyer announced on Tuesday that ‘41% of new cases are between the ages of 20-29, and 61% are between the ages of 20-39.’
Scores of anti-racism and police brutality protests have gripped the nation since Memorial Day since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Last week, reports that Trump was aware of that Russians allegedly paid Islamic militants in Afghanistan to kill US soldiers rocked the country.
But Trump looked at ease as at least four other men joined him for a round of golf.
Trump’s (center) Virginia golf visit comes as the Us has become consumed with Black Lives Matter protest, coronavirus case surges and reports of Russian bounties
At one point, footage appeared to show Trump (center) giving a ‘low five’ to a golfing companion without sterilizing his hands
At one point, video footage appeared to show Trump giving one golfing companion a ‘low five’ without sterilizing his hands.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, social distancing of six feet and is still strongly encouraged as the state begins its final reopening stage.
Although gatherings have upped the number of allowed persons to 250, Gov. Ralph Northam still urged Virginians to stay home as much as possible.
A social distancing guideline from the health department asked that residents ‘avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses,’ as well as ‘dirty hands.’
Trump also played a few rounds of golf at the Trump National Golf Club last weekend against South Carolina Senator and ardent supporter, Lindsey Graham.
Graham reportedly told Fox & Friends on Thursday that Trump shot a remarkable 74 and beat him ‘like a drum.’
Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly told Fox & Friends that he played against President Trump (far left) in golf last week and was ‘beat like a drum’
‘I’ve never seen him play this well,’ he said, TMZ reports. ‘I mean, he’s got more on his shoulders — I’m hoping, “OK, you know he’s a little distracted.”‘
But others were less impressed by Trump’s back swing.
Presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden lambasted the Commander-in-Chief for golfing while the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the US.
The Golf News Net reports that Friday’s visit was the 271st time Trump had visited one of his 17 golf clubs since officially entering office since January 2017.
‘We are five months into this crisis, and our health care workers still don’t have the masks and protective equipment they need. It’s a national disgrace,’ he tweeted Friday.
‘Mr. President, use your authority and fix the shortage of PPE before you tee off for yet another round of golf.’
Joe Biden blasted President Trump for golfing three times this week as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country
Biden: ‘Mr. President, use your authority and fix the shortage of PPE before you tee off for yet another round of golf’
Biden was rehashing lines from the speech he delivered in Wilmington, Delaware Tuesday, when he argued that Trump had ‘surrendered’ to the virus.
The president has downplayed continued problems the U.S. is having dealing with the virus as the cases per day in the country have topped 50,000.
Arizona, California, Florida and Texas on Friday reported a combined 25,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases, but a smaller percentage are coming back positive and deaths haven’t skyrocketed yet.
Some health experts say the surge in Southern states is due to younger people being infected with milder cases of the virus.
Officials also believe this may have to do with a better understanding of how the virus spreads, an increase in testing and a lower percentage of older people testing positive.
In June, infections in Florida rose by 168 percent or more than 95,000 new cases. The percent of tests coming back positive has skyrocketed to 15 percent from four percent at the end of May.
This means that Florida, home to 21 million people, has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.
California Congressman Ted Lieu also criticized the president for golfing, but took a particular grievance with the Russian bounty report.
‘Even if the shifting White House stories are true that did not receive info about Russia paying bounties to kill US troops, Trump certainly knew last Friday,’ wrote Lieu.
‘And Trump still has not issued a single statement condemning Putin. But he has played golf, 3 times.’
California Rep. Ted Lieu also criticized President Trump for golfing as reports about alleged Russian bounties circulated
The New York Times said in a concerning report that Russia was paying Taliban militants bounties to kill U.S. service members overseas – an crack in his relationship with President Vladimir Putin, if true.
Trump called the reports a ‘hoax’ on Wednesday and White House officials said the explosive report was in the presidents briefing, but wasn’t verbally addressed because it was ‘unverified.’
‘The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!,’ Trump tweeted.
Trump has also be inundated with backlash over his response to Black Lives Matter protests.
He was condemned over his heavy-handed military response to often peaceful protests, appearing to incite further divide between civilians using prejudice rhetoric and for using the widely contested phrase ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts.
Trump has unequivocally aligned himself on the side of law enforcement as civilians protest police brutality and excessive force. The law enforcement institution has sputtered into a crisis as Americans reexamine the role police officers have and should play when policing communities.
Melina Abdullah, a founding member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, attacked the president for his divisive stance.
‘I think it’s the height of hypocrisy for Donald Trump to call anything a symbol of hate,’ said Abdullah, a Pan-African studies professor at California State University.
‘He is the embodiment of hate, and for him to say that affirming the value of black life is somehow hate, again, reminds us of who he is.’
In response to claims that Trump is stoking the flames of both political and racial divide with harmful rhetoric, Abdullah pointed to white supremacy.
‘I think we need to remember who he is. That Donald Trump is the embodiment of white supremacist terrorism.
Following Friday’s golf trip, President Trump will head to South Dakota to deliver a speech and watch a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.
The Mount Rushmore event will be capped at 7,500 people, but South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said there weren’t plans for social distancing, though officials would be handing out masks.
The Department of the Interior has 30,000 masks ready for the crowd that is expected to show up on the National Mall for the Fourth of July holiday.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that she had warned the Interior Department that the gathering went against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but she has no authority over the festivities because they’re being held on federal lands.
Then he will host his ‘Salute to America’ celebration from the White House, complete with military flyovers, prior to the annual fireworks display on Saturday.