President Donald Trump kicked off his holiday break Friday by signing the tax bill into law before heading to Florida to stay at his Mar-a-Lago Club through holidays- an opportunity to escape Washington and spend time with friends and family before embarking on the second year of his presidency.
Trump exited Air Force One early Friday afternoon in a cheerful mood – waving, fist-pumping, giving a thumbs-up and mingling for about 20 minutes with supporters who greeted him holidays on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport with pro-Trump signs.
Trump’s arrival here comes at a high point for his presidency. He scored his first major legislative victory this week with passage of the $1.5 trillion tax cut package, which came at the end of a tumultuous year marked by a chaotic West Wing operation and the continuing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections.
“It’s going to be a tremendous thing for the American people,” Trump said of the tax bill in the Oval Office Friday morning. “It’s going to be fantastic for the economy.”
Polls have showed the bill is unpopular, but Trump and congressional Republicans argue Americans will view it more favourably once they start to see savings in their pay cheques.
Mar-a-Lago has often been a refuge for Trump – his aides have dubbed it the “Winter White House” – and this will be his tenth trip to the club during his presidency.
His stay here is expected to mostly be filled with rest and relaxation. But armed with his Twitter feed, Trump rarely stays quiet even when away from Washington. The White House declined to discuss the president’s plans and whether he will conduct official business or hold any meetings during his stay.
Trump usually attends the Christmas Eve service at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, a short drive from Mar-a-Lago. It’s the church where he and first lady Melania Trump were married in 2005 and where his youngest son, Baron, was christened.