NEWS
18/02/2019 10:06 GMT

5 Times Donald Trump Made Headlines While Playing Golf This Weekend

"He thinks he has to humiliate whoever he’s dealing with or else he’s half a man."

Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, shortly before flying to Florida to play golf all weekend.

The dramatic shift in pace for the president came after a bruising week which forced him to take drastic – and possibly illegal – measures to attempt to secure the money he needs to fund his US-Mexico border wall. 

“I am going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump announced from the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday, as he claimed illegal immigration marked “an invasion of our country”.

He then flew to Florida for what should have been a relaxing weekend but, as ever, the turbulent world of President Trump meant he, and those around him, were still making headlines...

The Nobel Peace Prize

In a rambling address when announcing the national emergency, Trump claimed that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening talks and easing tensions with North Korea.

The Japanese leader had given him “the most beautiful copy” of a five-page nomination letter, he said at a White House news conference.

But on Sunday the Asahi newspaper revealed the Trump administration had asked Abe for the nomination.

SIPA USA/PA Images

Of all the world leaders who have courted Trump since he took office, Abe has been one of the most enthusiastic, having met a number of times and even playing a round of golf together.

A spokesman for Japan’s foreign ministry in Tokyo said the ministry was aware of Trump’s remarks, but “would refrain from commenting on the interaction between the two leaders.”

The White House had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. 

The Saturday Night Live sketch

Sparking condemnation from human rights groups, Trump on Sunday suggested a comedy sketch show should face “retribution” for mocking him.

The TV show Saturday Night Live once again featured Alec Baldwin’s now-legendary impersonation of the president, this time recreating his national emergency speech from Friday. 

Trump/Baldwin said: “We need wall. We have a tremendous amount of drugs coming in through the southern border, or the ‘brown line’ as many people have asked me not to call it.

“You all see why I gotta fake this emergency, right? I have to because I want to. It’s really simple. We have a problem. Drugs are coming into this country through no wall.

“Wall works, wall makes safe. You don’t have to be smart to understand that – in fact it’s even easier to understand if you’re not that smart.”

Trump, despite last year claiming he doesn’t watch SNL, tweeted his displeasure at the portrayal.

He said: ”Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”

Then, hammering his point home, he tweeted: “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The tweet drew condemnation from many, including American Civil Liberties Union which pointedly highlighted the right to free speech enshrined in US law.

The Russia investigation

While the president was making headlines with his declaration of a national emergency, Robert Mueller made his own big announcement. 

The Special Counsel investigation into links between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, said it has evidence of communications between Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to the president, and WikiLeaks, related to the release of hacked Democratic Party emails.

Stone, who was arrested last month, already faces charges related to an alleged relationship he had with Wikileaks around the time the whistleblower group released stolen emails that seriously – some would argue fatally – damaged the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

He has always denied having advance knowledge of the email leak despite sending a tweet in 2016 that said: “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”

The Special Counsel investigation said in a court filing on Friday: “The government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release.

“Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.”

Organization 1 is a reference to WikiLeaks, while Guccifer 2.0 is a hacker persona US intelligence agencies say was a cover name used by Russian military intelligence.

The UN Ambassador and the nanny

In yet another staffing blow for Trump, his pick for the next US ambassador to the United Nations withdrew, citing the stresses placed on her family since being put forward for the role.

Fox News

Heather Nauert was a breaking news anchor on Trump’s favourite television show, Fox & Friends, and had practically no foreign policy experience when she joined the State Department as spokeswoman almost two years ago when Rex Tillerson was secretary of state.

She said the past two months had been “gruelling” for her family, adding: “Therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.”

But a person familiar with the matter told Reuters Nauert withdrew from consideration because she had a nanny who was in the United States legally but did not have the proper work visa. 

Nauert was not immediately available for comment.

The first Republican challenger to President Trump

While the list of Democrats declaring their intention to run for president in 2020 steadily grows, Republican candidates have until now been non-existent.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, is the first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump for their party’s presidential nomination and on Sunday said six more years of Trump’s “antics” in the White House would be bad for America.

Weld said the national emergency that Trump declared on Friday to obtain funding for a wall at the US-Mexico border showed his readiness to divide the country, Reuters reports.

Boston Globe via Getty Images
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

“I don’t think he knows how to act. He thinks he has to humiliate whoever he’s dealing with or else he’s half a man,” Weld told ABC’s “This Week” in an interview.

“The emergency declaration is just one example of that. Congress thought they had a deal. He says: ‘Oh, you think you have a deal? I’m going to show you a deal. I’m going to show you who’s boss,’” he added.  

Weld, 73, said on Friday he was pursuing a Republican primary challenge against Trump in 2020.

It would be a long-shot bid as opinion polls show Trump’s re-election is overwhelmingly supported by Republican voters, but Weld defended his own candidacy.

“It is part of my thinking to make sure he doesn’t repeat, we don’t have six more years of the antics,” Weld said. “That would be bad for the country.”