PALM BEACH, Fla. - President Donald Trump spent his Christmas Eve golfing in Florida.
Trump had no events on his public schedule on the first day of his winter vacation Thursday, but traveled to his Palm Beach golf club, where he was spotted by CNN cameras on the links.
Reporters were told that, "As the Holiday season approaches, President Trump will continue to work tirelessly for the American People. His schedule includes many meetings and calls."
Trump’s departure came as Washington was still reeling over his announcement that an end-of-year spending bill that congressional leaders spent months negotiating to give most Americans $2,000 COVID relief checks — far more than the $600 members of his own party had agreed to.
The idea was swiftly rejected by House Republicans during a rare Christmas Eve session, leaving the proposal in limbo.
The bipartisan compromise had been considered a done deal and had won sweeping approval in the House and Senate this week after the White House assured GOP leaders that Trump supported it. If Trump doesn't sign the deal, which is attached to a $1.4 trillion government funding bill, it will force a federal government shutdown, in addition to delaying aid checks and halting unemployment benefits and eviction protections.
"At a meeting in Florida today, everyone was asking why aren’t the Republicans up in arms & fighting over the fact that the Democrats stole the rigged presidential election?" Trump tweeted after he’d returned to his private Mar-a-Lago club. "Especially in the Senate, they said, where you helped 8 Senators win their races."
"I will NEVER FORGET!" he wrote in another.
Trump has provided no credible evidence to support his election claims, which have also been refuted by a long list of officials, from former Attorney General William Barr to Republican governors, judges and local election administrators.
Meanwhile, the nation continues to reel as the coronavirus spreads, with record infections and hospitalizations and more than 327,000 now dead. And millions are now facing the prospect of spending the holidays alone or struggling to make ends meet without adequate income, food or shelter thanks to the pandemic’s economic toll.
To mark the holiday, the president and first lady Melania Trump tweeted out a pre-recorded video message in which they wished Americans a Merry Christmas and thanked first responders and members of the military.
"As you know, this Christmas is different than years past," said Mrs. Trump, who focused on the acts of "kindness and courage" the pandemic had inspired .
Trump hailed the vaccine doses now being delivered and thanked those responsible. "It is a truly a Christmas miracle," he said.
Meanwhile, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to salvage the year-end legislation to try to prevent a shutdown. Democrats will recall House lawmakers to Washington for a vote Monday on Trump’s $2,000 proposal, though it would likely die in the GOP-controlled Senate.
They are also considering a Monday vote on a stop-gap measure to at least avert a federal shutdown and keep the government running until Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20.