The Latest: Trump ditches press pool to play golf

Matt Rourke, File/Associated Press
Trump ditches press for golf outing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

4:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has returned to his private club in Florida, after once again ditching his press pool and traveling to another of his clubs to play golf.

Both as a candidate and during the transition, Trump has often scoffed at tradition, such as allowing a group of reporters to follow him at all times to ensure the public knows where he is.

A member of Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Florida, posted a photo on Twitter of Trump on the greens Saturday morning and said about 25 U.S. Secret Service agents accompanied the president-elect. Reporters had not been advised of the trip.

Transition aide Stephanie Grisham confirmed that Trump had made a “last-minute trip” to the golf club, which is about a half-hour drive away from his Mar-a-Largo estate.

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Trump Ditches Press Again, This Time For Golf Outing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ― President-elect Donald Trump played golf at his course about 13 miles north of his Palm Beach resort Saturday.

What time he left Mar-a-Lago, what time he arrived at Trump National in Jupiter, who he met or played with once there, what time he was finished and whether there were any incidents along the way were not immediately clear, as he ditched the reporters assigned to cover him for the day.

“It was a last-minute decision to play golf, nothing more,” Trump travel aide Stephanie Grisham said.

Presidents, presidents-elect and major party presidential nominees in recent decades have been accompanied everywhere by a group of print, online, wire service and broadcast reporters, a rotating “pool” that shares that information for use by all their colleagues. That tradition, though, was broken during the campaign by Trump, who largely refused to allow members of the press to travel on his personal jetliner, forcing the use of a second plane.

The resulting logistical complications sometimes meant pool reporters ― who often paid thousands of dollars per day for air travel ― were unable to arrive at his campaign events until after he had taken the stage. Trump also refused to take reporters to fundraiser locations. Candidate in both parties had made a practice of this, including releasing information about the hosts, the number of attendees and the amount collected.

Not long after the election, Trump went to a New York City restaurant ― with a full Secret Service motorcade ― without notifying his press pool. Reporters on call that evening learned of his visit because of a restaurant patron’s tweet that he was there, and then the reporters scrambled to get there too.

Trump was scheduled to attend a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night, which, according to a Politico report, has sold 800 tickets at more than $500 each. Unlike political fundraisers for political parties, the profits from the New Year’s Eve party were expected to flow directly to Trump, who owns the hotel.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told Politico that he was not concerned that ticket buyers might be trying to purchase access to the soon-to-be-president. “This is an annual celebratory event at the private club, like others that have continued to occur since the election. Additionally, the president cannot and does not have a conflict,” Hicks told Politico.

Trump ditches press pool to play golf

President-elect Donald Trump ditched his press pool Saturday to play golf, the latest example of his break with precedent regarding the media covering him and his transition.

"He made a last-minute trip to Jupiter. We weren't aware and appreciate everyone's understanding. We are in the home stretch of this transition period and don't anticipate any additional situations like this between now and inauguration," Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told reporters. "We've really made an effort to provide as much access and comfort as possible over the past two weeks and are proud of the way we have all worked together."

A club member tweeted a picture of the President-elect with himself at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, which alerted reporters to the President-elect's visit. The Jupiter club is about a half hour away from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, where he is staying.

Trump's motorcade was seen leaving the club around 2:15 p.m. ET.

The press pool, a small group of journalists assigned to cover the president, exists to keep Americans informed about the president's whereabouts. In the case of an emergency, the president and his team often relies on journalists to quickly relay information to the American people.

Trump has abandoned his press pool several times since his election victory in early November. After ditching the press twice in a week, the White House Correspondents Association called the practice "unacceptable."

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