Was Trump-China summit at Mar-a-Lago a bust?

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April. (Doug Mills/New York Times)

When President Donald Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April, Trump tweeted that “tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed” between the two leaders .

Aside from the high-level talks, the Palm Beach summit featured a visit to Bak Middle School of the Arts by First Lady Melania Trump and Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, and a serenading of the Chinese president by the children of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner that Chinese state-run media called “a touching moment.”

Trump has said he hopes better relations with Xi will persuade China to rein in the nuclear ambitions of its neighbor, North Korea.

But after North Korea test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S., Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to show his disappointment in China.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” Trump said in a pair of tweets late Saturday.


How Donald Trump, Melania, Ivanka, Donald Jr. tweeted for Mother’s Day

First lady Melania Trump and son Barron in a photo she posted on Twitter for Mother’s Day.

President Donald Trump used his 29.4-million-follower Twitter account this morning  to wish a happy Mother’s Day to First Lady Melania Trump as well as “all of the great mothers out there.”

Melania Trump also used Twitter to extend Mother’s Day wishes, tweeting a photo of son Barron aiming a camera at her.

Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump tweeted Mother’s Day wishes to their mom, Ivana Trump. 

Ivanka Trump also thanked her kids “for giving me the gift of motherhood. You are my inspiration!”

Donald Trump Jr. also gave a Mother’s Day shout-out to his wife, Vanessa.

Conservative group sues over Donald, Melania Trump Palm Beach travel records

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump enter the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea for Easter service last month. (Melanie Bell / Palm Beach Daily News)

The conservative group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records related to travel to Palm Beach by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump — as well as records on a Colorado trip by Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Aside from Trump family members, the watchdog group is suing for records related to travel since December by former President Barack Obama, Vice President Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

COMPARE  President Donald Trump’s travel to getaways by other presidents

“The public controversy over President Trump’s travel will only increase if the Pentagon and Secret Service won’t disclose basic costs and other details as FOIA law requires,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Extreme transparency should be the Trump administration’s ethic, especially after eight years of lawless Obama secrecy.”

President Trump has made seven trips as president to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Melania Trump has flown there separately on some weekends. Palm Beach County taxpayers have spent nearly $4 million on Trump’s visits, mainly to pay for overtime by sheriff’s deputies. The county can get reimbursed for its expenses under a federal spending bill approved last week.

Judicial Watch was able to get information on Air Force One costs — but not expenditures for the Secret Service and other costs — for two of Trump’s Palm Beach visits. Those two roundtrips cost nearly $1.3 million.

The group also tracked Obama’s travel and determined Obama’s trips cost more than $96 million over eight years.

The Judicial Watch suit names the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security as defendants. The Department of Defense oversees the use of Air Force One; Homeland Security oversees the Secret Service.

In a statement this afternoon, Judicial Watch said it filed suit after the Air Force and Marine Corps didn’t respond to FOIA requests seeking “mission taskings, transportation costs and other passenger manifests” for a variety of trips:

• Then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch, from Denver to Washington in January;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach, – Feb. 3-6;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach,  – Feb. 10-13;
• President Trump to Palm Beach,  – Feb. 17-21;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – Feb. 17-21;
• Pence to Houston – February;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 3-6;
• President Trump to Palm Beach – March 17-20; and
• all of President Trump’s February 2017 helicopter trips on Marine One.

Judicial Watch also says the U.S. Secret Service failed to respond to FOIA requests seeking records of costs for providing security and other services for:
• Obama to Hawaii – December-January;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 3-6;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 10-13;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 17-21;
• Pence to Houston – February;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 3-6;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 17-20;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 24-27;
• Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. to Aspen, Colorado – March 2017.




Melania Trump follows Ivanka, Tiffany lead; visits Bak Middle School with Peng Liyuan

Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan at Bak Middle School of the Arts today (Lynne Sladky/AP)

First Lady Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, visited four classes at Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach today.


They visited while President Donald Trump and Xi continued their summit at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. After a working lunch, Xi and the Chinese delegation left Mar-a-Lago around 2 p.m.


In October 2016, Ivanka Trump speaks to students at Inlet Grove High School in Riviera Beach as sister Tiffany looks on. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

It’s the second time Trump family members have visited a Palm Beach County school in the past year.


A few weeks before the 2016 election, Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump visited Inlet Grove High School in Riviera Beach.


Here’s a pool report on the Bak visit from Ching-Yi Chang of the Shanghai Media Group:


U.S. First Lady Trump and Madame Peng of China visited Bak Middle School of the Arts, which is a local public middle school teaching arts, dance, and music, theater etc.

The two “First Ladies” visited four classes today: girl’s choir, symphonic band, advanced orchestra, and civic lesson.

Mrs. Trump wears a deep blue stylish pantsuit with a flower-patterned white scarf. And Madame Peng wears long Chinese style, elegant white top with a pair of long loose pants, and she held a purple oval clutch on her hands. Her dress is always designed and made in China.

They seemed running late behind the schedule for roughly a half hour. They arrived the first class at 11:04 AM, and they left the last class at 11:45 AM.

Prior to that, the girl students were waiting and eager see them. The students said they knew they would see Mrs. Trump and Madame Peng “just this morning”. But they knew important guests would visit, so they have practiced for quite some time.

The first class with 80 girls sang “Astonishing”. The song is about, according to whom directed it, women power and empowering women. Madame Peng kept nodding her head, seemed enjoying the song, likely because she is a famous soprano singer and she teaches singing in China. And Mrs. Trump kept smiling. After the performance, Madame Peng said “bravo” repeatedly, and then Mrs. Trump approached to the students and asked them how long they’ve practiced and what’s their passion etc.

For the next two classes, it was basically the same, the students performed, and they applauded and encouraged students.

Mrs. Trump and Madame Peng didn’t interact much in the classes. Yet, your pooler noticed that, on their way to different classes, they would talk to each other on the way with the interpreter in between them.

The final class was different. The students demonstrated their international relations projects. There were five small groups with five desks, and the two First Ladies went to each desk and talked with students. At one point, there was a ten-year-old boy student talked with Madame Peng, the boy was from China. Madame Peng talked nicely in Mandarin Chinese to the boy for a while, yet your pooler couldn’t hear clearly about their conversation. At the end of conversation, Madame Peng gave the boy a hug.

In the end of the event, a student reporter and a student cameraman went to them and did a interview, they asked Mrs. Trump why she chose the school to visit, she said she wanted to see it and meet students. And the students asked Madame Peng about her relations with arts, she said her parents were both in the field of arts, and in the end, she encouraged students to keep integrity and honest always.

A Chinese official told your pooler, developing friendship between Madame Peng and Mrs. Trump is also an important goal. As many of you may recall, Madame Peng invited former First Lady Obama to China in 2104, and that was a good effort for “First Lady Diplomacy”.

Last but not least, some reporter friends asked your pooler about whether people called Madame Peng “First Lady” in China? Not often. More people call her Prof. Peng, since she has been teaching music in several universities and colleges, and she is currently the Dean of PLA Academy of Art. So that is likely the reason why she visited Bak Middle School of the Arts today.

Florida-bound: Ivanka, Jared leave D.C. with Donald Trump

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and their children leaving Marine One for Air Force One outside Washington, D.C. this morning. (White House pool photo)
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and their children leaving Marine One for Air Force One outside Washington, D.C. this morning. (White House pool photo)

President Donald Trump has boarded Air Force One for South Carolina, where he’ll visit a Boeing facility before arriving  at Palm Beach International Airport this afternoon for his third consecutive weekend at Mar-a-Lago.


Keep up today with PostOnPolitics.com, MyPalmBeachPost.com and @gbennettpost on Twitter for coverage of the president’s visit.


Leaving Joint Base Andrews this morning with the president: Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, and their two children.


First lady Melania Trump does not appear to be coming to Palm Beach this weekend.


Trump’s acting national security adviser,  Gen. Keith Kellogg — described in a Trump tweet today as “very much in play” for the permanent job — also boarded Air Force One, as did White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon.