AP NEWS

With government open again, Trump heads for Florida

February 2, 2019
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President Donald Trump speaks during an event on human trafficking in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — With the government open again, President Donald Trump at last 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 he owns and dining 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 play well when one-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, Melania, arrived at their estate after dark. Their son, Barron, the president’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared, and the first lady’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knav, also made the trip.

Supporters awaiting Trump’s arrival at the airport cheered loudly and began chanting “USA” as he exited Air Force One.

It had 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 for a stretch in which 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 complaints on Twitter about being alone in the mansion and waiting for Democrats to come over and negotiate a deal for the billions of dollars he wants to build a wall 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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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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President Donald Trump speaks during an event on human trafficking in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)