At Mar-a-Lago, Trump warned he was willing to cancel North Korea talks

President Donald Trump speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago in April. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: For more in-depth news about the doubt expressed about the North Korea talks while at Mar-A-Lago, click here.

In cancelling a planned denuclearization summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump is following through on a warning he issued at Mar-a-Lago last month.

Trump’s open letter to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

At the conclusion of a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 18, Trump seemed to relish the possibility of accomplishing something with North Korea that eluded past presidents.

“We’ve never been in a position like this with that regime…And I hope to have a very successful meeting,” Trump said of the talks with Kim.

But Trump said he was willing to walk before or during the meeting.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting and will continue what we’re doing,” Trump said during news conference with Abe.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson quickly blasted Trump this morning.

“The cancellation of this summit reveals the lack of preparation on the part of President Trump in dealing with a totalitarian dictator like Kim Jong Un. We’ve seen similar lack of preparation by the president in dealing with the leaders of China and Russia,” Nelson said.

At Mar-a-Lago in April, Trump and Abe pledged to continue their “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea until Kim agreed to “complete and verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization.

“We will not repeat the mistakes of previous administrations. Our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearizes,” Trump said at the time.

“There is a bright path available to North Korea when it achieves denuclearization in a complete and verifiable and irreversible way. It will be a great day for them. It will be a great day for the world,” Trump said.

Abe also urged caution.

“Just because North Korea is responding to dialogue, there should be no reward. Maximum pressure should be maintained,” he said through a translator.


Mar-a-Lago Club member to Trump on Mueller probe: ‘Stay away from it’

West Palm Beach resident Christopher Ruddy talks with CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday.

PALM BEACH — After tweeting several times Saturday about the Russian collusion probe and his view that a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump,'” President Donald Trump maintained Twitter silence on the topic Sunday while wrapping up his latest weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

While it’s too early to tell whether Sunday’s restraint represented a strategic shift or a mere aberration, Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago Club member Christopher Ruddy had to be pleased.

Update: Before 8 a.m. today, Trump was back to tweeting about the Russia probe…

Ruddy, CEO of Boca Raton-based Newsmax Media, told CNN on Sunday that “this whole case has been about a false, fake, phony allegation of a crime” and that neither special counsel Robert Mueller nor the media has produced any evidence of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Ruddy, who said he chatted with Trump on Saturday night, said he doesn’t think the president should fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, two personnel moves that have drawn much speculation.

Ruddy said Trump should take a hands-off approach to dealing with the investigation, emulating Ronald Reagan rather than Richard Nixon.

“There’s two ways of a president approaching an investigation like this. One is the Nixon model. Nixon didn’t know about the burglary, he didn’t order it. Yet he got involved in the investigation, he fired the prosecutor. It did not end up well for him. Reagan model – 26 indictments and plea agreements of officials. Reagan stayed completely out of it. He remained popular the whole time,” Ruddy said.

“My view is the president should wall himself off from this. None of the crimes that have been involved so far with Mueller involve his campaign or impact him. The president should stay away from it,” said Ruddy, who said he had chatted briefly with Trump on Saturday night.

Trump in Palm Beach: En route to golf course, president claims vindication

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday night with son Barron and first lady Melania Trump. (Andres Leiva/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump this morning says Friday’s release of a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates” him in the Russia collusion probe.

The president made the declaration via Twitter at 9:40 a.m. as his motorcade rolled from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach to the Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

Trump arrived Friday night for his 12th presidential visit to Mar-a-Lago. He’s expected to go back to Washington on Sunday night.

Click here to check out Christine Stapleton’s running coverage of Trump in Palm Beach County all day at

Of note to Trump Twitterologists: Today’s tweet, referring to himself in the third person and quotation marks (“Trump”) is only the second time Trump has used this formulation as president. The only other time was last October:

“Can’t believe I got a good story in the @washingtonpost. It discusses the enthusiasm of ‘Trump’ voters through campaign…” the president tweeted Oct. 7.

Palm Beach-bound Trump OKs memo release; Bill Nelson calls it ‘huge victory’ for Vladimir Putin

Sen. Bill Nelson in his West Palm Beach office last year. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump, expected to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport this evening for a Mar-a-Lago weekend, has approved release of a controversial Republican memo that alleges abuses by the FBI in its 2016 decision to launch an investigation of potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The House of Representatives is expected to formally release the memo later today.

Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson blasted the president’s decision in a statement today.

“By releasing this memo, the President of the United States is undermining the credibility of our intelligence community and serving a huge victory to Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, and many other intelligence services.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, defended the memo’s release earlier this week.

“This memo reflects the result of months of diligent investigation by the Committee,” Rooney said. “This is why we voted to ensure that every Member of the House could read and learn for themselves our findings. As the Committee determines the most appropriate process in which to do so, I support making this memo available to the American people. Any delay in the release of the memo should only be to protect sensitive sources and methods of the Intelligence Community.”

Trump in Palm Beach: Grieving Tennessee dad buys local pre-Super Bowl ad to reach him

Steve Eimers in a scene from his 30-second TV ad aimed at President Donald Trump in Palm Beach.

While lavishly produced TV ads fill the airwaves during the Super Bowl and its hours of pregame coverage Sunday, Steve Eimers of Lenoir City, Tennessee, is hoping his low-budget spot running exclusively in the Palm Beach market catches the eye of President Donald Trump.

Figuring Trump would be at Mar-a-Lago for the weekend (a guess that appears to be correct), Eimers bought a 30-second ad on the West Palm Beach NBC affiliate, WPTV Channel 5, to air before the game and make his plea to meet with the president about highway safety.

President Donald Trump watching the Super Bowl last year at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach with first lady Melania Trump and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Eimers says a defective guardrail caused his 17-year-old daughter’s death in 2016. The guardrail manufacturer says its product has passed safety tests in accordance with federal standards and “no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road.”

Click here to read the entire story.

Trump preview: ‘We are building a safe, strong and proud America’

President Donald Trump at West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Station 2 last month. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

The White House has released some excerpts as prepared for delivery when President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address later tonight:

Together, we are building a SAFE, STRONG, and PROUD America.

• We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work; we want every child to be safe in their home at night, and we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.


Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.

• Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the Middle Class and small businesses.

• Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker.

• This is our New American Moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.

• Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

• Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

• For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.

• In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.

• We have ENDED the war on American Energy – and we have ENDED the War on CLEAN COAL. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.

• America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.

• America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

• I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

• Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American Workers and American Families.

• So tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed.

• As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

• Last year I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth. One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

• Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

Shutdown ends: How Palm Beach County members voted, Trump’s analysis

Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation for the 115th Congress, clockwise from top left: Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City; Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, voted for a short-term spending measure to end the federal government shutdown on Monday night while Palm Beach County’s three Democratic House members — Reps. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach — voted against it.

The final vote was 266-to-150, with 221 Republicans and 45 Democrats in favor of the bill to finance the government through Feb. 8.  Voting no were 144 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

The House voted after most Senate Democrats, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, reversed course from Friday night and allowed the stopgap spending bill to proceed.

“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown,” President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday night. “Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!”

Here’s what Palm Beach County House members said about their votes:

Mast: “I’m relieved to say that the government is going to be back open, but this was an entirely avoidable crisis. The bill passed today by the Senate is fundamentally the same as the one the House passed last week. The fact that a minority of Senators were able to hold the government hostage for 3 days—and make no real changes to the bill—shows just how broken the system really is. Sadly far too many people in Washington remain more interested in helping themselves than the people they represent.

“With this manufactured crisis behind us, we need to get back to work—fix the broken system, stop governing from crisis to crisis, get our country’s finances back on track, cut wasteful spending and do what we were sent here to do: put power back in the hands of the American people.”

Frankel: “I want government open, but short-term funding is ridiculous and the failure to protect DREAMers is wrong. Month to month federal funding, in this case 17 days, endangers our national and domestic security. Without stable fiscal planning, all our federal agencies, including our military, are hampered. I will continue to fight alongside my fellow Democrats to get a deal for the DREAMers and pass a responsible long-term funding bill that allocates appropriate resources to important areas such as defense, veterans, infrastructure and medical research, and pressing crises facing Florida, like opioid abuse and hurricane recovery.”

Deutch: “Governing by chaos is not governing. Using band-aids to move from one emergency to another is irresponsible and dangerous. Americans need to know that their government will be there for them. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership has failed them. We need a spending bill that will ensure certain, stable, and robust funding of both domestic and military spending for the remainder of the year. We need to instill confidence and ensure stability. We owe it to our military, our troops, our veterans, and our national security. We owe it to our seniors and low-income families, to Social Security beneficiaries and Medicare and Medicaid recipients. We owe it to the groundbreaking and life-saving federally-funded medical research, and to those still struggling to recover from the disastrous natural disasters.

“This bill offers no assurance for a long-term spending bill. It’s time to govern – responsibly and in a bipartisan way. The American people deserve better.”

Hastings: “The Trump Shutdown was the first in modern history where one party controlled the House, Senate, and White House. Our country is just four months into the fiscal year, yet the Republican-run Congress has needed four short-term continuing resolutions to keep the government running. It is absolutely shameful that Congress has needed to pass a three week spending bill, kicking-the-can down the road yet again. This is no way to run our government.

“The clock is ticking. Over the next 17 days, the American people will face grave uncertainty. This is not leadership, this is no way to function, and it must stop.



Eric Trump says dad would be ‘hugely impeded’ if Dems take Congress

Eric Trump and wife Lara speaking to Republican activists at the West Palm Beach Marriott today. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Eric Trump thanked local Republican activists for their grass-roots efforts today and warned that his father’s agenda would be “hugely, hugely impeded” if the GOP loses its majorities in the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

Eric Trump, wife Lara Trump and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel spoke to about 100 party activists at a training session at the West Palm Beach Marriott. They are in town for a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago tonight for President Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign.

The president was scheduled to headline tonight’s fundraiser, but his attendance is now unlikely because of the federal government shutdown.

Eric Trump said his father won in 2016 because Republicans had a better ground game than Hillary Clinton and Democrats.

“You are the soldiers on the front line. We have your back. We truly love you,” Eric Trump told the group.

He said their efforts will be needed in this year’s midterm elections.

“I am so proud of my father. He’s done an amazing job for this country…He pledged one very simple message and that’s to make America great again and that’s what he’s doing and we have to continue the fight,” he said.

Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate, but more than eight decades of historical trends favor the party that is out of the White House in non-presidential election years and polls show Democrats have an advantage in generic ballot tests against the GOP.

“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump said. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”

Lara Trump said her father-in-law “is draining the swamp and he is making America great again…It is so important the we keep him there, that we keep the majority in the House and the Senate.”




‘I’m not a racist,’ Trump declares; his Palm Beach weekend ends today

President Donald Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speak to reporter before dinner at Trump International Golf Club on Sunday Night. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump pushed back Sunday night against accusations that his disparagement of Haiti and African nations during recent immigration talks reflects racism.

The president wraps up a three-day weekend at Mar-a-Lago today with a planned return to Washington aboard Air Force One this afternoon.

“What do you say to people who say you’re a racist?” Trump was asked by a reporter as he visited his Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach for dinner Sunday night with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.


“No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump responded.

The president also denied reports he used the term “shithole countries” during a Thursday discussion of immigration policy in the Oval Office.

“Well, did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They weren’t made,” Trump told reporters.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who played golf with Trump at Trump International on Dec. 26, attended the Thursday meeting and said Sunday the president did not use the vulgarism widely attributed to him over the last few days. Sen. Dick Durbin,

An alternate vulgarity theory emerged Sunday, with conservative National Review editor Rich Lowry suggesting on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump might have used the term “shithouse” instead of “shithole.” The pro-Trump Breitbart News was among those running an account of Lowry’s remarks.


Today: President Donald Trump arriving for MLK weekend at Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Dec. 22. (Photos by Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump will arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight to spend the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Be sure to check out, and @gbennettpost on Twitter all weekend for the latest on the president’s visit.

This will be Trump’s 11th visit as president to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

He also appears likely to return next weekend.

Trump was last in town on New Year’s Day, when he wrapped up a 10-day stay with a round of golf with professionals Fred Funk and son Taylor Funk before departing in the afternoon.