President Trump tweeted this week that he was home alone at the White House as he waited for lawmakers to come to the bargaining table and end the partial government shutdown. Indeed, two of his key advisers-slash-family members appear to have gone on holiday without him. Mid-shutdown, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were spotted on vacation in Florida, which drew some criticism on Twitter.
The Daily Mail published photos of the couple that were taken on Christmas Day near the president's Mar-a-Lago resort. The two wore dark sunglasses and hats and held hands as they crossed the street, reportedly helped across the way by their Secret Service detail. Ivanka carried books in her arms, and both she and her husband were dressed for warm weather. Temperatures in West Palm Beach this week are in the 70s.
Earlier reports suggested that the couple flew to Florida on Saturday. Melania Trump had also flown south, but returned to Washington D.C. after her husband declared he wouldn't budge on the shutdown.
Politico's Jake Sherman puzzled over Kushner's decision to head to Florida given his role in last week's negotiations to avoid a government shutdown. "I am a bit confused because last week, the White House said Jared was critical to the negotiations when he was on the Hill with Pence and Mulvaney," he wrote on Twitter. "Now he’s in Florida."
He was not alone. Tommy Vietor, co-host of Pod Save America and a former Obama administration spokesperson, also criticized Trump's and Kushner's taking time off. "Hard to imagine the top advisors to any other president going on vacation during a government shutdown," Vietor tweeted.
It was recently reported that a vacation Trump and Kushner took this summer to the Dominican Republic cost taxpayers $58,000 in expenses for their security detail. The couple stayed at a resort on the island in August, and the White House said that they personally covered all other expenses for their trip, as it was personal in nature.
President Trump also had planned to go down to Florida for 16 days, arriving on Dec. 21 and leaving Jan. 6, according to The Palm Beach Post. He then decided to stay in Washington as the shutdown continued, letting the whole country know his change of plans on Twitter.
The president was planning to spend not only Christmas, but also New Year's Eve at Mar-a-Lago. Last year, the resort hosted a lavish party where Trump briefly addressed guests. This year, the price to attend the same party is $650 for Mar-a-Lago members and $1,000 for guests, Tribune News Service reported.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner are reportedly joined in Florida by Donald Trump Jr.; Trump Jr.'s ex-wife, Vanessa, and their five children; and Trump Jr.’s new girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, according to The San Jose Mercury News. The former Fox News host posted a photo of herself taken poolside at Mar-a-Lago on Instagram, captioning it, "Merry Christmas."
That said, Ivanka and Kushner are the only family members who double as White House advisers. The Senate returns to Washington D.C. on Thursday and could possibly turn its attention to ending the shutdown; it's unclear whether Trump and Kushner will return to D.C. this week as well.