President Trump on Wednesday returned to his Florida resort for the first time since this Spring, but don't get the wrong idea. Per the White House, he's not on vacation despite the fact that most Americans will spend Thanksgiving with family and home from work Trump won't have a low-key Mar-a-Lago Thanksgiving. Instead the official message on Wednesday, both from the press staff and his own Twitter, is that the president will be busy with meetings and working the phone while he is in Florida.
The details of the president's schedule are not public, but the official word was clarified Wednesday after a press pool update was sent out by Jenna Johnson from The Washington Post at 7:56 a.m. ET. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told the pool that the "president plans to make a number of calls [t]his week, especially related to tax reform, and that the White House will provide readouts of those calls. Otherwise, she expects a low-key day."
That last sentence did not sit OK with the president, forcing Johnson to write a correction at 8:06 a.m. ET:
A correction to the earlier pool report: While the White House communications staff expects the press pool to have a low-key day, the president will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.
Trump used similar language to describe his trip on Wednesday morning via Twitter. "Will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida (Mar-a-Lago)," Trump wrote.
What Trump will actually do on Thanksgiving, apart from assumedly celebrating the holiday with his family, is not known. If he makes phone calls, the press pool will be given readouts, but otherwise it's a mystery. If he goes golfing, you probably won't find out about it. Trump has made efforts not to be photographed while golfing, despite his many visits to his resorts and golf clubs. According to NBC News, the president has visited his own properties at least 99 times since taking the White House.
Trump regularly complained about Obama's vacations while in office, and also implied that a president should not go golfing. “@BarackObama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic,” Trump tweeted in 2011. This year Trump spent 17 days at his New Jersey property on a "working vacation."
The time he spends with his family for the holiday is separate from the official Thanksgiving duties the first family saw to before heading down to Florida. Unlike the pardoned turkey named "Drumstick," the Trump family's turkey will not air on cable news. Trump addressed the country on Tuesday at the pardoning ceremony at the White House:
As we gather together with our families on Thanksgiving and give thanks for our many blessings, we are reminded of the national family to which we all belong as citizens of this incredible country. This Thursday, as we give thanks for our cherished loved ones, let us also renew our bonds of trust, loyalty, and affection between our fellow citizens as members of a proud national family of Americans.
In addition to the ceremony, the White House released a history of presidential Thanksgivings on their blog this week. "Some Presidents spend Thanksgiving at the White House; others celebrate at Camp David or private family residences. The menu includes traditional Thanksgiving foods along with regional favorites, depending on the preferences of the First Family," the blog reads.
Mar-a-Lago would then be considered a private family residence, but no other president has owned a huge resort like Trump does. Whether or not he's busy in meetings or on the phones, this is a Thanksgiving first.