Donald Trump is preparing for a relaxing Presidents’ Day holiday, settling in for a round of golf at his luxury Trump International Golf Course in Florida.
But just 40 miles away the mood is not so festive, as parents of children murdered in this week’s school shooting prepare for their funerals.
Trump spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which has become something of a weekly trip for the president as he leaves the bustle of Washington, D.C., for some swankier surroundings. Donald Trump’s trip is especially controversial this weekend, however, as the president continued to party with rich friends and take golf trips even though one of the worst school shootings in American history took place just 40 miles away. On Valentine’s Day, a former student allegedly burst into Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland, Florida, killing a total of 17 people in a gruesome attack.
Trump has been roundly criticized for his reaction to the school shooting. Within hours after the shooting, Trump appeared to blame the victims at the school, tweeting that someone should have reported the suspect’s violent behavior (though reports did indicate that several people alerted authorities about the warning signs).
This weekend, Trump met with police and paramedics who first responded to the shooting, but appeared to treat the visit as something of a campaign stop. Trump took a picture smiling and giving a thumbs up to the police, which led some commenters to call him “tone deaf.”
There was even more criticism later when Trump appeared to blame the school shooting on the FBI’s Russia investigation, which has led to indictments against some of Trump’s top officials including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Through all of the missteps, reports indicated that close advisers were telling Trump to avoid going golfing this weekend, as it would give the impression that he was aloof and uncaring. The Hill reported that White House officials said Trump was avoiding golfing as a show of respect for the young victims of the school shooting.
That apparently did not last very long. On Monday morning, the Palm Beach Post reported that Donald Trump headed to his luxury Trump International Golf Club, which is just 40 miles from where the school shooting took place. Funerals for those killed at the high school have started this week, including 15-year-old Peter Wang, an ROTC student who died holding the door to help other students get to safety.