WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump kicked off his Memorial Day weekend by visiting his club in Virginia, marking the president's first time back at one of his private golf courses in 75 days, the longest stretch of his administration without spending time at one.
He was seen leaving the White House on Saturday morning wearing a white hat, white shirt and no mask as his motorcade made its way to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
The president spent most of the rest of March locked down at the White House participating in near-daily press briefings with the White House coronavirus task force highlighting the administration's response to the pandemic. The briefings were abandoned in late April after Trump was criticized for suggesting people might be able to prevent the coronavirus by injecting or ingesting toxic household cleaning products.
Recently, Trump has begun to take day trips outside of Washington to thank factory workers producing medical equipment used to combat the coronavirus.
During a press conference at the White House on Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump administration's coronavirus coordinator, emphasized that it was okay to participate in normal Memorial Day weekend activities, such as golfing, as long as people practiced social distancing and took other precautions.
"Please, as you go out this weekend, understand that you can be outside and you can play golf, and you can play tennis with marked balls," Brix said. "You can go to the beaches if you stay six feet apart. But remember that is your space. And that is the space you need to protect to ensure you are social distancing for others."
Trump was seen playing with three other people at his golf course Saturday and was seen driving a golf cart alone around the course. At one point, Trump patted another golfer on the shoulder. None of the players were seen wearing a mask.
Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden clashed over Trump's golf habits on Sunday after the former vice president released an ad criticizing him for playing during the pandemic.
In a tweet Sunday night, Biden added that the president "is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart. It requires taking on the ultimate responsibility for the biggest decisions in the world. Donald Trump simply wasn’t prepared for that. I promise you I will be."
Trump shot back, arguing that "they think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months."
He added that Biden was "constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries"— an apparent reference to allegations Trump has previously made about Biden and his son, Hunter. Fact checkers who have examined the allegations, which involve Ukraine and China, have described them as false.
So far this month, the president has twice visited Camp David but it’s unclear whether he golfed during either of those “working” weekends. Camp David reportedly has at least one hole and a driving range, but the White House has not stated publicly whether the president has played since early March.
“I'd really like to play golf but it's too busy right now,” the president told reporters earlier this month. Trump also tweeted recently he had not played “in a long time.”
Trump called into an NBC PGA special last weekend and conceded he missed the game.
“I do miss it. I haven't played, really, since this problem that we have started. I haven't been able to play golf for a while. I've been very busy, and I think that it’s just one of those things, but we're getting back to normal,” Trump said.
Last year, the president had a new, room-size golf simulator installed in the White House, replacing an older version used by former President Barack Obama.
Trump regularly enjoyed golfing and spending time at his various self-branded clubs throughout the country before the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News records indicate the president has visited his own properties on more than 400 days since taking office, about a third of his total term.