Mar-a-Lago members really got the full benefits of their $14,000 annual dues (after a $200,000 initiation fee) this weekend when esteemed President Donald Trump chose to conduct state business at a dinner table in the most public area of his country club. It was a great sacrifice by Trump, who was forced to govern the country by flashlight, possibly because no one would see him doing it if he went inside.
Trump was having dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe Saturday when news broke that North Korea had launched a nuclear missile. The president, for some unexplained reason, chose to handle the situation right there on the patio, where guests unabashedly photographed the events. And like the band on the Titanic, Trump dined on. CNN reports:
Even as a flurry of advisers and translators descended upon the table carrying papers and phones for their bosses to consult, dinner itself proceeded apace. Waiters cleared the wedge salads and brought along the main course as Trump and Abe continued consulting with aides.
All the while, guests whose only qualifications were spending a lot of money on golf watched and listened.
“Wow......the center of the action,” one Mar-a-Lago member, real estate investor Richard DeAgazio, wrote on Facebook this weekend alongside series of photographs he took of the president of the United States conducting official business.
In what could only be seen as a disdainful middle finger toward national security given Trump’s deep self-proclaimed concerns with Hillary Clinton’s private email servers, the president and his aides also used their cell phone cameras to light documents they were conferring over. (For comparison’s sake, both Edward Snowden and Gawker crack video expert John Cook alike claimed to store their phones in refrigerators when dealing with confidential documents.) As the Washington Post explains for dummies:
Phones — especially phones with their flashes turned on for improved visibility — are portable television satellite trucks and, if compromised, can be used to get a great deal of information about what’s happening nearby, unless precautions are taken.
And here’s the kind of opsec—that’s military jargon for keeping shit secret—Trump has in the clubhouse:
In another now-deleted or hidden post, the member also uploaded a picture of the “football guy” who was actually carrying the nuclear codes but still had time to pose with golfers:
Eventually Trump and Abe gave a joint statement, where Trump opted not to read his prepared remarks. We know this because he also allowed the prepared remarks he did not deliver to be photographed.
And then there’s this so-dark-it’s-almost-funny-but-not-quite anecdote from CNN, where Trump paused dealing with a nuclear missile to crash a wedding:
Trump left the impromptu briefing room without taking questions, having delivered the first emergency foreign policy statement of his presidency.
But even as he confronted one of the gravest matters of his office, Trump nonetheless found it impossible to resist dropping in on a nearby wedding reception, already underway in his treasured Grand Ballroom. Trump designed and built the space himself after purchasing Mar-a-Lago in the 1980s.
Entering the ornate room, Trump took a photo with the bride and her bridesmaids, who posed in red gowns next to the commander in chief, mimicking his signature thumbs-up.
Then he grabbed a microphone.
“I saw them out on the lawn today,” Trump said of the bride and groom, who were standing nearby. “I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’ “
“They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” Trump reportedly said. “They’ve paid me a fortune.” Priorities!!