As Americans masked up — or not — to grab hot dogs, watermelon, and a resupply of hand sanitizer this weekend, President Trump was hard at work hitting the links and sending outrageous tweets. Though the president participated, maskless, in the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Ceremony on Monday, his weekend drew a sharp contrast with the somber tradition of the Memorial Day holiday and the ongoing death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which got less attention from Trump than a 20-year-old debunked conspiracy theory involving Joe Scarborough.
Below is how Trump spent his holiday weekend (which isn’t even over yet).
He played golf, twice
Americans have been encouraged in recent days to get outside — where transmission of the coronavirus is far less likely — and exercise, but as the U.S. COVID-19 death toll nears 100,000, the country’s leader might have been wise to take a pass. Instead, Trump returned to the golf course for the first time since March 8 on Saturday, and again on Sunday, playing at his own private club in Virginia.
Joe Biden’s campaign quickly turned Trump’s outing into an ad. Trump’s defense? He said he was just getting his exercise and that “it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months.”
He barely mentioned the pandemic
Among the dozens of tweets Trump sent this weekend, just one was about the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans. And it wasn’t a thoughtful remembrance of the victims. It was another suggestion that all is well:
For Trump, the focus now is on economic recovery and not on the lives lost. And lives continue to be lost, with more than 600 more people dying of COVID-19 in the U.S. on Sunday.
He threatened to move the Republican National Convention
Before mentioning Memorial Day on Memorial Day, Trump fired off four tweets threatening to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina Governor Roy Copper tries to limit capacity at the August event in order to protect attendees and workers from the coronavirus. “Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” Trump wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.”
He also wrote that if the arena can’t be “fully occupied,” the GOP will be forced to take “all of the jobs and economic development” someplace else. He could have hardly been more clear: The priority should be making him happy, not public health.
He insisted on making a speech in Baltimore despite the mayor’s fears about its impact on public health
Following the president’s traditional visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, Trump gave a speech at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Though the president mentioned how American military personnel are “on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus,” Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Young argued that the visit couldn’t have come at a worse time. Young told the Associated Press that the pandemic-stricken city couldn’t afford the added cost of hosting Trump, and worried that the president “deciding to pursue nonessential travel sends the wrong message to our residents.”
He, once again, accused Joe Scarborough of murder
In late 2017, Trump first tweeted about a debunked conspiracy theory that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a staffer two decades ago. He’s revived it in recent weeks and on Saturday encouraged “forensic geniuses” to “keep digging.” On Sunday, he tweeted that Scarborough and the woman who died may have been having an affair.
The Washington Post ran down the facts of the case this weekend and explained how Trump’s claims are completely baseless, but that’s never stopped him before. And the family of the 28-year-old woman who was murdered won’t be speaking out about it:
No one in Klausutis’s family would talk about Trump’s tweets for this article, fearing retaliation by online trolls of the type who went after parents of the Sandy Hook massacre victims. Their grief has been disrupted by conspiracy theories before — not only over the past few years from the White House, but from some liberals who at the time of her death sought to portray a then-conservative Republican congressman as a potential villain.
“There’s a lot we would love to say, but we can’t,” said Colin Kelly, who was Klausutis’s brother-in-law.
He sent some nasty retweets about women — that were clearly endorsements
Trump’s always-noxious Twitter feed was especially so Saturday night, when he retweeted nasty personal attacks on three prominent Democratic women. The tweets called Hillary Clinton a “skank,” made fun of Stacey Abrams’s weight, and criticized Nancy Peolsi’s appearance. All three retweets were originally sent by former Republican congressional candidate John Stahl, who has a history of saying outlandish and asinine things online.
He championed conspiracy theories about mail-in ballots
Trump continued his ranting and raving about vote-by-mail this weekend, facts be damned.
He did not react to his bank account and routing numbers being accidentally made public
New White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had her first chance Friday to lavish her boss in praise for donating his salary to a government agency. It’s an utterly meaningless gesture for a president who has squandered millions of government dollars, but his supporters eat it up. McEnany’s mistake Friday was one that her predecessors managed to avoid. While showing off a check from Trump to the Department of Health and Human Services, McEnany revealed Trump’s sensitive account information. Oops.