Trump plays golf for third time amid bounty scandal, virus spikes




New York (tca/dpa) - President Donald Trump kicked off his holiday weekend with a Friday morning visit to his private Virginia golf club, hitting the links for the third time in less than a week despite growing outrage over the Russian bounty scandal and coronavirus spikes across the country.



 
The president arrived at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling shortly before 10 a.m., according to the White House pool reporter. A small group of protesters greeted Trump at the club's entrance, including one woman holding a sign saying "Trump is a Traitor."
After his golf outing, the president was expected to depart for South Dakota with first lady Melania Trump to watch a July 4th fireworks show at the Mt. Rushmore monument.
Trump, who said during the 2016 campaign that he wouldn't have time to golf as president because he'd be busy "working," played another couple of rounds at his Sterling course last Saturday and Sunday.
The back-to-back golfing comes even as Trump faces intense scrutiny over apparently not acting on U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia paid cash bounties to Taliban fighters willing to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Trump has yet to offer any public statement on the Russian bounty scandal, which first came to light last Friday in a New York Times report.
White House aides have maintained that Trump was never briefed on the sensitive information despite reports that it was included in one of his written classified intelligence briefs in February.
It remains a mystery as to why the president wouldn't be briefed on such serious intelligence, even though his top national security officials have said they considered the information serious enough to prepare possible retaliatory options against Russia.
Meanwhile, coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates are surging in more than 30 states, with the U.S. recording its largest single-day increase of cases this week, even though more than 128,000 Americans have already died from the respiratory contagion.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) was flabbergasted that Trump found time for golf Friday amid the twin crises.
"Even if the shifting White House stories are true that Trump did not receive info about Russia paying bounties to kill US troops, POTUS certainly knew last Friday," Lieu tweeted. "And Trump still has not issued a single statement condemning Putin. But he has played golf, 3 times."

Friday, July 3rd 2020
By Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News
           


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