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'It is not a sin' - Trump on playing golf as US death toll nears 100,000

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Tribute: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in a Memorial Day ceremony in Baltimore. Photo: AP

Tribute: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in a Memorial Day ceremony in Baltimore. Photo: AP

AP

Tribute: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in a Memorial Day ceremony in Baltimore. Photo: AP

President Donald Trump paid tribute to fallen members of the American military yesterday to mark Memorial Day, while defending his decision to spend most of the holiday weekend playing golf as the US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak neared 100,000.

"Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend.

"The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin - I knew this would happen," Mr Trump tweeted, saying it was the first time he had played in nearly three months.

Before becoming president, Mr Trump had repeatedly criticised his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, for playing golf, including during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

The United States has more than 1.6 million infections, the highest in the world, while forecast models for possible Covid-19 deaths predict the death toll will exceed 100,000 by June 1.

But almost all 50 states have begun relaxing their coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has warned that he may move the Republican National Convention set for August from North Carolina if the event faces state social-distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Mr Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to halt campaign rallies. Some have raised concerns that the large formal nominating conventions that are typically packed with delegates could raise safety issues.

Mr Trump said on Twitter that if Democratic Governor Roy Cooper does not immediately answer "whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied", then the party will find "with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site".

The conventions include prime-time TV speeches that serve to kick off the final sprint toward the November presidential election. The Republican event is set to start on August 24 in Charlotte.

Mr Cooper's office said that "state health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte".

Later, Mr Trump tweeted he had "zero interest" in moving the convention to Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami.

Irish Independent