GLASGOW, Scotland — Two days before a high-stakes summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump spent part of Saturday playing golf and tweeting about his predecessor and a U.S.-based cable television network he accuses of covering him unfairly.
Aides had said Trump would spend the weekend preparing for Monday’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki.
“I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf – my primary form of exercise!” he tweeted early Saturday, referencing his seaside golf resort. “The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible! Tomorrow I go to Helsinki for a Monday meeting with Vladimir Putin.”
Trump was later seen on the links. A BBC reporter recorded footage of him waving at protesters as they shouted “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA!” before resuming his game.
The protesters were among the thousands of people who came out in Scotland and England to protest the U.S. president’s visit to both countries.
Some 10,000 people marched Saturday through the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, while police tried to find a paraglider who breached a no-fly zone and flew a protest banner over the resort in western Scotland where Trump and his wife, Melania, are staying through Sunday. Anti-fascist groups and political activists were joined by others waving an array of makeshift anti-Trump banners who said they had never demonstrated before. Some signs of their said “We Shall Over Comb” and Dump Trump.”
The glider carried a banner that said “Trump: Well Below Par” over Trump’s resort Friday night to protest his environmental and immigration policies.
Scores of anti-Trump protesters also turned out in London during Trump’s visit to England earlier this week.
In Saturday’s tweets, Trump cast blame on former President Barack Obama for failing to stop Russian election meddling. It was Trump’s first response to indictments announced Friday in Washington against 12 Russian military intelligence officers who allegedly hacked into the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival, and the Democratic Party, and released tens of thousands of emails in a sweeping Kremlin conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election.
“The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” Trump tweeted, asking why they didn’t “do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”
Trump denies that he or any campaign aides were involved with the Russian campaign. He repeatedly dismisses the ongoing investigation that produced Friday’s indictments as a “witch hunt.”
Trump on Saturday also mocked CNN President Jeff Zucker as “Little Jeff Z” and knocked its election coverage following a spat with a CNN correspondent at a news conference Friday in England.
“So funny! I just checked out Fake News CNN, for the first time in a long time (they are dying in the ratings), to see if they covered my takedown yesterday of Jim Acosta (actually a nice guy). They didn’t!” Acosta had objected to Trump dismissing the news outlet as “fake news.” In fact, CNN did cover the exchange of words and interviewed Acosta on air about what happened.
Trump said he plans to raise election meddling with Putin when they meet Monday at the Finnish presidential palace in Helsinki, but has also said he doesn’t expect Putin to ever accept blame.
“I will absolutely bring that up. I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me,'” Trump said Friday, referring to Putin.
Leading Democratic senators asked Trump in a letter Saturday to scrap the summit “if you are not prepared to make Russia’s attack on our election the top issue you will discuss.” Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican senator and Trump critic, has said Trump must hold Putin accountable or else he should not proceed with the meeting.
Trump’s chief diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Trump and Putin should meet as planned.
“I am confident that President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin will put America in a better place. It’s very important that they meet,” Pompeo told journalists traveling with him.AlertMe