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Trump goes from regal to rustic this weekend at Camp David

  • President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son and Barron Trump, walk to Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 17, 2017, en route to Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster

  • FILE - In this March 20, 1959, file photo, a Marine captain stands guard at the entrance to the Aspen lodge at Camp David, near Thurmont, Md., as talks between President Dwight Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan on the Berlin situation get underway. Presidents have been coming to this refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File) Paul Vathis

  • FILE - In this April 22, 1961 file photo, President John F. Kennedy, left, and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower with their heads bowed as they walk along a path at Camp David in Thurmond, Md., as the two met to discuss the Bay of Pigs invasion. Presidents have been coming to this refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File) Paul Vathis

  • FILE - In this May 14, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama waves to members of the media after meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders and delegations at Camp David, Md. President Donald Trump is picking simple over swanky this weekend. Nearly five months into his presidency, Trump is heading to Camp David, the government-owned retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, for the first time. A frequent weekend traveler, Trump has so far favored his palatial residences in Florida and New Jersey over the wooded hideaway used by many presidents for a break from Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) Andrew Harnik

  • This photo provided by the White House shows, President George W. Bush talking to troops from Camp David, Maryland, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 2008. President Donald Trump is picking simple over swanky this weekend. Nearly five months into his presidency, Trump is heading to Camp David, the government-owned retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, for the first time. Presidents have been coming to this refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest. (Eric Draper/The White House via AP) Eric Draper

  • FILE - This Sept, 6, 1978 photo provided by the White House shows the principals in the Middle East Summit, from left, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, meeting for the first time at Camp David, Md. Presidents have been coming to this refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest (White House via AP)

  • President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son and Barron Trump, board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 17, 2017, en route to Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster

  • President Donald Trump and his son Barron Trump walk to Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 17, 2017, en route to Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster



Associated Press
Saturday, June 17, 2017

President Donald Trump chose simple over swanky this weekend.

Nearly five months into his presidency, Trump flew for the first time Saturday to Camp David, the government-owned retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. A frequent weekend traveler, Trump has favored his palatial residences in Florida and New Jersey over the wooded hideaway used by many presidents for a break from Washington.

Few expect the luxury-loving leader to make this a regular thing. After all, Trump told foreign newspapers earlier this year that Camp David was “very rustic” and “you know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.”

Trump’s wife, Melania; their son, Barron, and the first lady’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, joined the president for the overnight at Camp David. Trump was scheduled to return to the White House on Sunday.

Presidents have been going to the refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest. Franklin D. Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill there in 1943, reviewing plans for the invasion of Normandy. Jimmy Carter used it for peace talks between Egypt and Israel. George H.W. Bush’s daughter Dorothy, or “Doro,” got married there.

“Everything that a president needs in the White House is built in there,” says Anita McBride, who was first lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff. “You have military support. You have a place to house your staff if you chose to use it. It is immediately available. ... Within 20 minutes you can be there.”

A short drive from the town of Thurmont, Maryland, Camp David covers more than 125 acres, with a cabin for the president and about a dozen cabins for guests. Guests can use tennis courts, a heated swimming pool, a bowling alley and a movie theater. For the golf-loving Trump, there is a single golf hole with multiple tees.