Donald Trump has insisted that an unannounced visit to Washington DC is a “working trip” amid a mountain of online speculation about the reason for his visit to the US capital.
On Sunday, the former president was seen landing at Dulles international Airport, approximately 26 miles west of DC, after flying from his Bedminster residence and golf resort in New Jersey.
He wrote on Truth Social, his own social media site, that his arrival in DC was a “work trip” and that he would be doing so from his Trump National Golf Club Washington DC from Monday,
In an apparent bid to stamp out speculation about his activities, he said: “Working today at Trump Washington DC on the Potomac River. What an incredible place!
Speculation surrounding the former president began on Sunday when a video shared to social media by @PenguinSix, a freelance journalist based in DC, showed Mr Trump disembarking the Cessna Citation X jet he has used for air transport since leaving office before getting into a black Sport Utility Vehicle. Mr Trump appeared to be greeted by his Secret Service detail and a marked police car from the Loudon County, Virginia, sheriff’s department.
Eagle-eyed viewers noted his casual golfing attire and a “Make America Great Again” cap in his hand.
What those details meant – if anything – continued to be debated online throughout Sunday night as commentators and “Trump watchers” debated the unannounced visit to DC amid an ongoing FBI probe into missing classified documents.
“Donald Trump was spotted landing at Dulles tonight and hopping into a blacked-out SUV, tweeted Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former advisor to Melania Trump. She continued: “He appears to be wearing white golf shoes. Perhaps he didn’t have time to change? No one knows why he’s in DC”.
Another Twitter user, @AngryStaffer, argued that it was unusual for Mr Trump to go anywhere without “fanfare” on his Truth Social platform, which remained largely silent as of Monday morning until his update about a “working trip”.
“It’s not often Trump does anything without fanfare, so this makes me think it’s a narrative he can’t control” the tweet read, adding: “He also doesn’t typically travel in golf attire, so I found that interesting. I’m sure we’ll find out more soon.”
Others meanwhile pointed out that Mr Trump, especially as president, chose to wear white golf shoes when not on one of his golf courses – thereby suggesting the outfit at Dulles Airport could not provide clues to his trip.
The twice-impeached ex-president, who typically spends his summers at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club but maintains his primary residence in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently subject to an FBI investigation following the retrieval of classified and top secret documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate last month.
It remains unclear whether or not his unannounced arrival in DC was related to that investigation however, amid calls for the US Justice Department to indict the former president on espionage and other charges. Mr Trump denies wrongdoing.
Other online commentators highlighted the fact that Mr Trump did not have any scheduled events in DC in the coming days, further prompting speculation about his activities.
“I keep pretty close tabs on his schedule and events,” tweeted former Republican and attorney Ron Filipkowski. “I’m unaware on any in the DC area tomorrow for Trump.“
Citizens for Ethics, a Washington DC-based non-profit and government watchdog, meanwhile tweeted: “Look, it’s kind of weird that Trump flew to DC tonight and no one seems to know why. There’s a lot of speculation, so let’s just wait until we know more before jumping to conclusions. But it is weird.”
Other social media users and commentators suggested that Mr Trump was in the area for a visit to the Walter Reed military hospital, where he was treated while ill with Covid as president, although that also remained unconfirmed on Monday.
The Trump National Golf Club Washington DC in Virginia is one of a dozen resorts owned by Mr Trump.
The Independent has approached his office for comment.