With government open again, Trump at last bound for Florida


WASHINGTON (AP) — With the government open again, President Donald Trump at last was headed Friday for a weekend at his happy place: his Mar-a-Lago private club on Florida’s southeastern coast.

Trump typically spends many winter weekends at the Palm Beach estate, golfing at another nearby private club that he owns and having dinner on an outdoor terrace at Mar-a-Lago, where he catches up with friends and club members.

But that routine was interrupted by the partial government shutdown, which ended a week ago after a record 35 days.

The president curtailed his travel during the shutdown, dropping Mar-a-Lago from the itinerary as he sought to avoid travel that would not have played well at a time when a fourth of the government was closed and hundreds of thousands of federal workers had to make do without pay.

As a fresh layer of snow blanketed the nation’s capital on Friday, Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, were set to arrive in Florida after sunset.

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It has been more than two months since Trump last visited Mar-a-Lago, which he calls the “winter White House.”

He flew down a few days early for Thanksgiving, a five-day stretch in which he indulged in daily golf, his “primary form of exercise,” including a round with professional golfer Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus’ son and grandson. Trump spoke on the holiday with U.S. service members stationed around the world, and dropped in on a nearby U.S. Coast Guard station.

After the shutdown began just before Christmas, Trump canceled his 16-day holiday at Mar-a-Lago and remained at the White House, where he often posted on Twitter to complain about being alone in the mansion and waiting for Democrats to come over and negotiate a deal for the wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canceling the vacation also meant skipping out on his duties hosting an annual New Year’s Eve bash at the Florida estate.

But this weekend, Trump will resume his hosting duties at an annual Super Bowl watch party at his private golf club in West Palm Beach.

Trump is due to return to the White House late Sunday.


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