Trump at his golf club for Presidents Day; backs efforts to bolster gun checks

SHARE Trump at his golf club for Presidents Day; backs efforts to bolster gun checks
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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump speak with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel while visiting first responders at Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Pompano Beach, Florida on Friday, three days after a mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a nearby high school. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is spending Presidents Day at his private golf club in West Palm Beach.

Trump has been in Florida for the weekend. He spent his time largely at his Mar-a-Lago estate as White House aides advised him against golfing too soon after a deadly school shooting in a nearby community.

The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether the president was playing golf Monday. The president also visited the golf club Sunday evening.

An avid golfer, Trump heads to one of his courses almost every weekend.

President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a vacation just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist. He later said he “should’ve anticipated the optics” of immediately going to play golf.

Also on Monday, the White House said Trump supports efforts to improve the federal gun background check system after a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president had spoken to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered,” Sanders said, “the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”

The bill would penalize federal agencies that fail to provide the necessary records and reward states that comply with federal grant preferences and other incentives.

Trump has been a strong supporter of gun rights and the National Rifle Association.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez spoke at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. She called out President Donald Trump on Saturday over his ties to the National Rifle Association and

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez spoke at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. She called out President Donald Trump on Saturday over his ties to the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby — and prompting the crowd to chant in turn: “Shame on you!”
| Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images

Trump spent much of the holiday weekend watching cable television news and grousing to club members and advisers about the investigation of Russian election meddling.

In a marathon series of furious weekend tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack on a Florida high school. He made little mention of the nearby school shooting victims and the escalating gun control debate.

Surviving students have called for tougher gun control and are planning a march in Washington next month. Trump has focused his comments on mental health, rather than guns.

The White House said Sunday the president will host a “listening session” with students and teachers this week, but offered no details on who would attend or what would be discussed.

The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. It was introduced after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church.

Trump has been a strong supporter of gun rights and the National Rifle Association. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

Trump was last seen publicly Friday night when he visited Parkland. He fired off tweets Saturday and Sunday and met House Speaker Paul Ryan Sunday afternoon. He also visited the golf club Sunday night.

President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a vacation just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist. He later regretted playing golf so soon after the killing.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated since the indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday charged 13 Russians with a plot to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

On Twitter, Trump stressed that the Russian effort began before he declared his candidacy and asserted that the Obama administration bears some blame for it. He also insisted he never denied that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 U.S. campaign, although in fact he has frequently challenged the veracity of the evidence.

Trump tweeted about the nation’s “heavy heart” after the shooting in Parkland. But he also sought to use the shooting to criticize the nation’s leading law enforcement agency.

Trump said late Saturday that the FBI “missed all of the many signals” sent by the suspect and argued that agents are “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

The FBI received a tip last month that the man now charged in the school shooting had a “desire to kill” and access to guns and could be plotting an attack. But the agency said Friday that agents failed to investigate.

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