[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Open Thread: Would You Fly to Dulles Wearing Golf Shoes?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I’m throwing up a post for an open thread because community members are restless and twitchy tonight and appear to need an outlet.

Oddly enough, there’s a current event about which folks can speculate and yammer to their hearts’ content:

Apparently Trump was driven to the NJ airport from Bedminster and then flew to Dulles in Washington DC. The photo George Conway mentions was allegedly taken at a distance at Dulles.

I suspect a fair amount of snark about this episode may be unleashed.

But did Goldfinger fly in his golf shoes, Michael?

ADDER – 11:59 PM:

There’s video here of his motorcade headed to the airport at Morristown NJ. Sandi Bachom who shares this video has filmed a lot of material over the years about Trump.

This is a short video of Trump’s arrival at Dulles. There are suitcases unloaded and shifted to another vehicle. Trump is dressed far more casually than he usually is when traveling.

There have been folks who’ve speculated Trump may have need health care at Walter Reed, but others have observed he wasn’t headed in that direction.

It’s a mystery; Trump rarely does anything without big fanfare because he needs narcissistic supply.

Okay, have at it. Do your worst in this thread. Do NOT pollute other threads with idle chatter about whatever this is.

Do keep in mind in the age of social media-borne influence operations this could be a put-on of some sort.

233 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    That *is* interesting. I’m curious, also. (And he must have been rushed, if he couldn’t get time to change shoes – I don’t think he was the one in a hurry.)

          • BrokenPromises says:

            The Bedminister video has audio of a still camera shooting rapid fire continuous still frames. I do not think the stills are from the video.

          • subtropolis says:

            There was nothing at all unusual about the motorcade speed. Very much par for the course, as it were. I don’t know what either you or Sandi Bachom see in that video to be surprised about. Yes, it was a telephoto lens, but it was still not terribly fast.

    • Rayne says:

      It would make sense if it was a health emergency, but then why would he go to Walter Reed — if he did — instead of a hospital close to Bedminster? It seems like media would already be camped out at Walter Reed, too, and we’d have heard more about his arrival.

      There’s the possibility there was a threat of some sort, but I’d think it far more likely they’d lock him down in place in NJ rather than evacuate him.

      I dunno’. Head scratcher. I’m enjoying Michael Beschloss’s shade in his Twitter thread, though.

      • P J Evans says:

        It looked like he had gloves or something similar hanging from his back right pocket. He really was grabbed off the course for this trip. Whatever it is, they needed him in DC and under their eyes really quickly.

      • pseudo42 says:

        “why would he go to Walter Reed — if he did” The following is all context for speculation, which might be irresponsible but here goes. First off there’s an executive suite there that’s set up for work and meetings during hospital stays (“Donald Trump’s Gold-Plated Health Care”, The Atlantic, Oct 6 2020).

        Also, sometimes people go out of their way for the right specialist, or they have no choice. I know a fellow who flew across the country for medically necessary surgery once. In another case I had a condition and I could not seem to find a local specialist who was set up to treat the condition, so I had to commute.

        On another note, for some reason Wikipedia’s article on the Former Presidents Act states that FPOTUS’s “are entitled to medical treatment in military hospitals” at rates set by OMB – though the footnote for this says nothing of the kind. But imaginably there is a cost break at a military hospital for TFG. One term presidents are not eligible for federally funded health insurance, according to https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL34631. Carter is in the same boat. However, I won’t toss out Wikipedia’s unsupported claim about military hospitals completely because CRS also says “No statutes explicitly govern the payment of health benefits for former Presidents” so there might be a patchwork of rules or some kind of old boy’s club. I am not claiming he is going there for cut-rate service but I wouldn’t be the least surprised if that were the case.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s some solid speculation. I wonder if there’s been accommodation for a specialist from Walter Reed to see Trump at a residence attached to the Trump National DC resort since the resort doesn’t appear to have hotel rooms.

          This would make sense of the relative radio silence about this trip — he wouldn’t want to cause any concerns he’s not up to running for 2024.

        • BrokenPromises says:

          Beyond the irony of the cost of the motocade and the flight to arrive at Walter Reed for ‘reduced cost’ medical care it makes no sense to rush for an emergency medical appointment but to then just walk casually down the stairs of the airplane ramp and slowly to the vehicle with no medical aid in attendance or at least a wheelchair. People in actual medical emergencies do not feel well and are coddled in particular if it involves cardio…. I don’t buy the medical emergency.

          • pseudo42 says:

            He persistently does erratic things so this could have nothing to do with health and maybe the caravan was by the book. He supposedly posted something to his social media account to the effect he’s on a “working trip” (The Independent).

            To respond to some of your points though, what you say often applies but not always. Some medical conditions absolutely require attention in a certain time frame but do not have a `golden hour’ but more like a golden day or two, during which you might seek a highly qualified surgeon who does the particular required procedure frequently, rather than take the earliest possible opening.

            As for the logistical tea leaves from the videos, photos, I don’t know how to read them. But I can further imagine that `what’s the protocol for logistics in an unprecedented situation involving an FPOTUS?’ is a question that could arise in the administrative context just as it can in a legal context.

      • Drew says:

        Not that I’m seriously suggesting this, but it would be kinda cool & explain the known facts: If the Feds had a search warrant for Bedminster, it wouldn’t be out of the question that they would, given all the hoo haw and former president deferentiality, etc, that they would clue him in the day before, because they don’t want him to be standing outside in his pajamas making trouble. So he would head to another of his properties.

        • Rayne says:

          Do we know there’s a search warrant? Have you seen the affidavit presented to obtain the warrant? Bring them if you have them, we’ll be here.

          The operative word in your comment is “if,” and yet you want the known facts.

          The facts are FPOTUS left his resort some time around 6:00 p.m. ET in Bedminster, NJ for the Morristown NJ airport, took a private jet believed to be his own to Dulles airport in Washington DC where he was photographed entering an SUV with government plates.

          That’s all we have.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Who reported the golf *shoes*? I find golf clothes comfortable, and often flattering enough to wear in real life (especially nice men’s polos), but I don’t know anyone who would travel in golf shoes. You’re supposed to have a pair of Bruno Magli loafers to change into. (Or Fendi, Gucci, Tod’s, to be current.)

  2. John Paul Jones says:

    He is deaf to pleas about serving his country, and Biden would never call him up for such assistance anyway, since anything he knew from his time as the former would most likely be documented elsewhere, ie, they wouldn’t need him for that.

    Base speculation: he’s been told he can either be arrested and charged publicly, or it can be done quietly, in a DC venue, and then he can be released to house arrest in a Washington Hotel prior to being questioned with attorneys present. Luggage was unloaded, some of which looked like clothes carriers, so he’s anticipating needing a suit at some later point. An arrest would also make Cannon’s moves mostly moot too, or rather, change up the discussion to one about admissible evidence.

    As I say, speculation of the basest sort, and with lashings of schadenfreude to help it go down. Who knows really?

    • BrokenPromises says:

      That was my speculation last night but you have fleshed it out quite nicely. Perhaps it went like this “We have a warrant for Bedminister following the re-release of the footage of boxes headed their in May. Donnie you will be arrested and cuffed if you are there…” or (as above. Warrants sealed).

      Please give me a wedding cake helping of that Schadenfreude

  3. punaise says:

    In golf the etiquette before putting is to repair one’s ball mark, the indentation created by an approach shot landing on the green. The “ball mark” that Trump’s reckless impact had on us is asteroid-sized.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        As a person who co-wrote a book with a PGA teaching pro, I have long found that Trump + golf creates a conceptual rift so deep that cognitive dissonance sets in. The people I interviewed, current and former competitive players with “names you might know,” spoke of the game the way we talk about democracy–with reverence and deep sense of honor. The game itself represents something larger than any individual, which is I think why you see pros on TV taking losses with such graciousness toward the winner.

        Obviously, Trump fits nowhere in this picture. And yes, there are exceptions, but none as enormously and insistently selfish as he is.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          “You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules.”
          — Bobby Jones

      • punaise says:

        As an infrequent and mediocre golfer rarely have this problem: my approach shots rarely land on the green!

        Cart on green: Instead of “playing through!” it’s “plowing through!”

    • SMF88011 says:

      “I am the greatest golfer of all time. Nicklaus has nothing on me. Here, I will drive my ball all the way to my club in Virginia….”

      *you see him shank the ball into the woods*

      “Okay, let’s go to my club in VA so I can show you where it landed….”

  4. P J Evans says:

    The videos from Dulles show that he’s not wearing his usual street-type shoes. Look like golf shoes, which aren’t intended for pavement (or carpet). This must have been a really-quickly set up trip.
    (My sympathy is really limited in his case.)

  5. rdpayne says:

    So, regarding the current inability of DOJ to use the classified docs recovered from MAL, none of those can possibly be the only unique originals, so anytime a doc that Cannon has enjoined has an original in another branch or office of government, then the DOJ can use the contents of the the original of that document to plan a case against TFG.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh, O B V I O U S L Y…LOL

      I’m laughing like a loon because I’ve seen a couple dozen trolls saying just that since this all started to break loose on Twitter. Sure, right, okay. Maybe on planet Trumpia.

      • BrokenPromises says:

        There’s another planet? (Obviously snark. But watching Jordan Klepper interview them that beyond comprehension mentality is on display.)

    • Arteberry says:

      “Good evening folks, this is Captain Mike Lindell at the controls, welcoming you aboard on our short flight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, which will include a brief stop at the U.S. Supreme Court for swearing in. Please make sure your seats and trays are in the full, upright and locked position…”

    • skua says:

      Mmmm – that opens up arbitrage on a betting market somewhere. Got 5 million of discretionary? You might have 6 by the end of the year.

  6. Furiouser & Furiouser says:

    Although I’d love to think so, it seems unlikely he’d be turning himself in or agreeing to a quiet surrender to authorities, especially on a Sunday night in golf shoes. Nor is it likely DOJ is ready to charge him yet. They’ve still got thousands of pages of stolen docs to look through, once Bill Barr, I mean the special master, decides what they can look at.
    So I’m hoping against hope for a sudden onset of a bad, bad disease. However, few diseases require such an urgent response that you don’t have time to change your shoes before flying to a hospital that’s not anywhere near where you live.
    Perhaps … just maybe … his dementia has progressed to the point where he won’t change his shoes because he always thinks he’s going golfing?

  7. hollywood says:

    I am not Trump and I can’t think like him, so pardon my ignorance.
    Wouldn’t a logical person being cornered by various state and federal investigations and hearing the footsteps of various taxing authorities and seeing Putin’s diminished power want to cut the best possible deal to escape with some assets and some freedom? Or will he fight to the weird and crazy end grifting all the way?

    • puzzled scottish person says:

      Is he going to check in for psychiatric assistance and plead mental incapacity in any future trials?

      Or agree to go away quietly and shut up for ever?

      Sherlock Homes always advised us to consider the psychology of the individual.

      I don’t think his ego will let him show weakness or admit defeat (even if he is always the victim in everything, despite being so rich and so powerful and so provided for with private planes and shit) so I guess he will fight on to the bitter end and go down in flames.

      His QAnon/MAGA acolytes will then form a cult around their conviction that he is not dead but only sleeping (that is only sleeping which can eternal lie) and will rise to lead them to salvation when all those nasty libs have been destroyed by his wrathful vengeance.

      So I’m betting on ‘weird and crazy end grifting’ all the way.

      • puzzled scottish person says:

        ‘Sherlock Homes always advised us to consider the psychology of the individual.’

        Note to self: hmm, wasn’t that Jeeves?

        Well, it was one of them, possibly both, and it’s good advice.

          • puzzled scottish person says:

            You are a mum (or mom) and that’s very nice of you.

            I wasn’t so much ‘replying’ to myself as ‘correcting’ (or, at least, ‘questioning’) myself because I can’t edit my posts (as far as I know) after the moderation period is over.

            Fiction is a way of understanding, tackling and responding to our reality. Conan Doyle and Wodehouse offered us ways of doing so through their fictional characters. Other less white and privileged authors have done the same in different ways.

            One of the reasons I come here is to read perspectives and experiences that are different from mine, such as your own.

            I also like to have my facts straight and I wan’t sure I had done so. It bugs my OCD when I get things wrong.

            Sorry if I had you worried but I think I’m alright :-)

          • Wajim says:

            Perhaps, like me, that’s often the only way one can have an intelligent conversation. Otherwise, when I come outside, I’ll often come here

            • BirdGardener says:

              You, me, and Gandalf, so you’re in good company. (Well, not because of me, but the sentence needed three.). Though poor Gandalf didn’t have Marcy Wheeler posts to read.

      • MB says:

        Continuing the fantasy: together with JFK Jr., RFK Jr (cousins re-united!) he will rise to lead his acolytes to salvation by urging them to fight the his new Holy War for the rest of their lives.

        And he will never shut up. In the unlikely event he ever inhabits a jail cell, I’m certain he will have “negotiated” privileges with the prison authorities to have a 24/7 live cam inside the cell to broadcast endless grievances to his “people”.

        Semi-relevant aside: I was a member of a spiritual cult in the mid-70s and one day the guru casually announced to a crowd of 300 of us that he wanted to try his hand at establishing his own kingdom, with himself as the king. And he succeeded to a certain extent in doing that. He owned property in California, Hawaii and Polynesia, reportedly had a Swiss bank account, and a generally luxurious lifestyle. At his peak, he might have had 10,000 devoted followers worldwide. But…in the end, he could not avoid controversy, lawsuits and hiding out from the law. Did manage to have a 36-year career as a Notorious Individual, before dying.

        All this to illustrate Trump is of the same ilk, on a much grander scale. And people like that turn themselves in a kind of perverted force of nature, not only above the law, but above most people.

  8. TXphysicist says:

    I’m surely too late to this party, but you can track every plane in the air (and sometimes on the runway) here:


    Sorry, I know this seems spammy, but that site is legit super useful.

    • Tom R. says:

      Nice thought, but not all that productive in this case.
      The aircraft in question is N725DT, which is a Citation X owned by Orangemandias himself (through a shell corporation, of course). You can find all the details by googling.

      It is blocked so you can’t see it on any of the usual tracking sites (flightradar24, flightware, adsbexchange, et cetera).

      Sometimes he flies in a borrowed plane, in which case you may be able to track him.

      • Hika says:

        “Orangemandias” – I really like that and am surprised I haven’t seen it before now. I hope he soon finds himself somewhere that “the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

      • Rayne says:

        The gentleman who caught him on video said he learned Trump was arriving at the airport by a flight tracking site, so not all of them are blocking his plane.

      • TXphysicist says:

        That’s hella useful info, thank you.

        Even if flight tracker sites weren’t useful in this instance, I think they are a useful tool to help us plebs hold the jetsetting billionaire class to account, in general.

        Btw, OT, my little corner of physics is now conferencing virtually about half of the time, so we’re cutting down on CO2 emissions. That said, there is nothing more efficient for networking or communicating than in-person, especially when english isn’t always the native tongue. It’s a bit of a quandary.

      • Tom R. says:

        Correction: Multiple different policies:
        — adsbexchange does not offer a block feature. They show all the data they can get.
        — flightradar24 maintains a block list. You still get to see the blocked aircraft’s (X,Y,Z) position on the map, along with the make/model code (C750 ⇒ Citation X), but the tail number and registration info are censored.
        — flightaware doesn’t show the blocked aircraft at all.
        — FAA maintains their own blocking list, but it applies only to tracking data put out by the FAA. Registration info is still public.
        — All the above applies to civil aircraft. Military aircraft play by different rules.

        In particular, adsbexchange uses multiple sources, including their own network of ground-based ADS-B receivers, which grabs data directly from the aircraft. The latter is not affected by the FAA block. They use satellites and ADS-C over the oceans.

        The blocking features seem kinda pointless, given how easy they are to bypass.

        • TXphysicist says:

          Thanks, I always admire people who return to correct any inadvertent misinfo they’ve put out.

          I guess the fact that blocking ADS-B is almost impossible is why my pilot friend recommends it above any others. He flies Citations, actually. Best client so far was Snoop Dogg, but it’s usually wealthy white a-holes.

          Yup, military is hit or miss. I can watch C-5s and T-38s doing refueling practice at about 5k ft. up, but occasionally I’ll hear something supersonic go by. I know it’s wayyyyy up there because of how long the sound lasts, slowly downshifting in frequency, and those aren’t on ADS-B, obviously.

  9. Philip Munger says:

    This has turned into an incredible web meme in the past eight hours. I predicted a week ago he would be indicted/arrested Wednesday morning. I was wrong. However, this is indeed weird. Notice the woman on the right side of the hood of the SUV is wearing a pistol holster on her right hip.

  10. BeingThere says:

    Has one of his handlers or someone he provided secret documents to put the wind up him, calling for something in return with threat of informing on something he did? It’d have to be someone who TFG has no kompromat on to rush him from his golf game in a panic. If his goose is almost cooked there’s limited time to milk the last from their asset. But what would the request be? Something in person, more document handoff? A tet-a-tet to influence GOP cronies prior to resuming session this week?

  11. Tom-1812 says:

    Perhaps there’s been some other emergency in the family, such as Don Jr. having an overdose of whatever he seems to be using when he’s all lathered up and speaking in tongues on his video rants. Or perhaps some problem involving Ivanka or her family.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t want to LOL at the possibility somebody was hurt but LOLing at the idea Trump rushed because of anybody else’s health. Only need to look at how he handled Roy Cohn’s final illness and his brother’s death to see how this wretched narcissist is likely to respond.

      • Tom-1812 says:

        I recall reading that when Don Jr. was born on December 31, 1977, his father dropped by the hospital briefly to see his wife Ivana and first-born child and then trotted off to spend the rest of the night at a New Year’s Eve party.

      • quickbread says:

        Plus, in the video footage, nobody looks panicked. He talked to no one, and no one helped him. He walked at a normal pace, and his shoulders were a little slumped. Kind of reminded me of his posture walking across the WH lawn after the 2020 Tulsa rally failure.

  12. dude says:

    It was Sep 11th. Perhaps there was a plausible threat on his life by a terrorist group.

    Or, perhaps he is simply running from an imagined threat on his life which he will eventually turn into “The Deep State is trying to kill me” ruse to bolster his support.

    Given that he still has Secret Service protection, I cannot imagine they would be plugged into any sort of fakery or flight to another country.

    I cannot imagine a genuine health scare either. He is moving around ably in the video and he apparently came directly off the golf course.

    So this leaves me with: he came up because of some development in his family or close circle in NY–perhaps their health is in question–or he has been notified he will be indicted.

    • LizzyMom says:

      Does he even have any family in the DC area still? I thought everyone was down in FL now.

      And I agree with Rayne that it’s quite unlikely that Trump would break off a tee time because someone wasn’t feeling well.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I can’t imagine Trump running for safety to DC, of all places. He loathed the District and it mostly loathed him back.

        For safety from terrorists? Camp David (which he hates), maybe.

          • BirdGardener says:

            Not to mention that he has no right to be there, seeing as he’s not president.

            There’s a Quaker camp in the area; we hiked past the road (edit: that led) to Camp David on occasion when we were kids. From the photos that have been published over the years, it appears to have come a long ways from its ‘rustic camp’ origins…but that’s true for the whole neighborhood, really.

  13. gknight says:

    Well, it is weird that this is only the 2nd time that Trump has been in DC since he was pResident. It is unusual that he wisks off anywhere and doesn’t post on his Pravda site. But we likely will be disappointed.

    Since he likely isn’t being arrested this close to the mid-terms, it may be a negotiation of a plea deal. No? Maybe he just doesn’t feel safe in Morde Lardo anymore. Or what’s her name kicked him out of the house.

        • Bob2 says:

          I am with bmaz on this one. This site is full of really well-informed folks. I often have a difficult time following many of the discussions. But it would make it so much easier if folks skipped most of the strange abbreviations and re-naming. I can handle FPOTUS or TFG, but a lot of the rest of it gets in the way of semi-comprehension.

          • Rayne says:

            This is an open thread, Bob, maybe you missed that part. This is where the community can let their hair down and vent a bit.

            Let’s tighten down the grammar and spelling in the other more serious on-topic threads. If this thread is uncomfortable for you, try one of the others.

            • Bob2 says:

              Thanks, Rayne. I meant in general – bmaz is always trying to get folks to not say Boob when they mean Bobb.

              By the way, I now know how folks get multiple names here. I really wanted to stay semi-anonymous – but it did say “name”. Tripped me up – won’t happen again.

              • Rayne says:

                I’ve changed your name on the first comment to match your second one.

                Now please don’t forget this one so I don’t have to remind you with your next comment! LOL

                As for Bobb: yeah, I should have called out occurrences which used a body part instead because women shouldn’t be marginalized as a sex objects. Bobb marginalizes herself as an attorney just fine.

  14. David says:

    Obviously there are many troubles, but I’d assume he was going in person to talk one on one about giving money to people who won’t come to MAL. Most obviously, campaign monies from his PAC fund. For whatever reasons.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “David” or “Dave.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      1. Trump doesn’t give money to anyone unless it helps him.
      2. Trump makes others come to him, not vice versa.
      3. Trump would not allow himself to look “disheveled” for a discretionary trip.

      If you’re talking about fundraising for himself, number 3 would apply.

  15. bg says:

    That big rolling suitcase tho. Maybe there is a suit in a hanger bag that might be at the ready (though the suit bag sized thingy was more stiff than a typical travel hanger bag), but Mr. Boxes of Chaos certainly does not pack his own bags for travel. Unless there was a secret search of his digs (so to speak) at Bedminster, and the FBI put papers and files that were not in file boxes in a big rolling bag, that’s a lot of whatever for going to jail. I mean, we always were told to bring an ID and a toothbrush if we were planning to be arrested. I see the MSM does not have anything on this story, at least that I found. Odd. They couldn’t find “a person close” to source it yet?

  16. glenn storey says:

    Normally I can speculate with the best of them, but i gotta admit – there’s so many things this could be that it’s not even worth bothering.

    • skua says:

      Here at the Charles Atlas Speculation Gym we’ll teach you how to build up to needing to speculate about everything, everywhere, even at the beach.
      Johnny here has only been using our program for 2 months but already speculates all day long.
      “Hey Johnny why is DJT in DC with golf-shoes on?
      “Chuck it’s because he was about to lose at golf and so signaled his PA to get him out of there with a TS flight to DC.”

  17. SMF88011 says:

    “You have a choice, Don the Con. You can either go to DC willingly and be interrogated in comfort at a CIA safe house in VA OR we can take you in cuffs to Gitmo where you will be waterboarded. We are THAT angry about your cheating at golf. We don’t care if you own the course or not. You have 5 seconds to decide.”

  18. Vicks says:

    Today (9/12) is the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords.
    A big day for Kushner, he’s a keynote speaker at an America First Policy Event.
    I’m not sure Trump would show up to hear someone else speak but I’m sure there will be quite a bit of political glory available to for Trump to exploit.

      • bbleh says:

        This is the key fact for me. None of the speculated reasons except medical would justify a lights-and-siren rush without even dropping his golf gear. And his being upright by no means rules out a medical emergency — he was upright when they bundled him off to WR when he had COVID, and he was not in good shape by all accounts. As to why they’d fly to DC instead of going someplace local, who knows — specialists, security, ego …

        • bmaz says:

          Are you an ER Doc, or just blowing speculative internet shit out your ass? This garbage is getting really sickening.

            • bmaz says:

              So, the “speculative internet shit out your ass” is really all you have. Thanks for admitting it. Charmed I am sure.

          • Rayne says:

            Dude, seriously. Sit out this thread and let me handle it.

            Back in the day we used to have Trash Talk posts which alleviated the community members’ itchy restlessness during slow weekends. Maybe you’ve heard of them before? Consider this a Trash Talk only the sport here is Trump watching.

            Now go, have a cuppa’ joe, walk the dog, relax. Everyone will get back on topic with the next serious post.

            • Breese says:

              Why am I only seeing the ‘Trump in DC’ story on Twitter & EW? There is nothing in the Times or Post or TPM…thoughts or links please.


              • Rayne says:

                Why would this site know what’s going on in the heads of journalists and editors at other outlets? Maybe they think Trump’s unannounced arrival at Dulles isn’t as newsworthy as a dead foreign monarch’s cortège moving at a walking pace through Scotland — who can say? You’re asking the wrong person.

                I can only answer as to why this post appears here: community members were restless and needed an outlet, and the odd reports by two different photographers in NJ and DC capturing Trump’s travel last evening had drawn a lot of attention on Twitter. The topic seemed like a good one for folks here who needed something new to kick around rather than trashing other threads with idle chatter.

                I explained the purpose at the top of this post, yes?

          • B Ruff says:

            “Okay, have at it. Do your worst in this thread. Do NOT pollute other threads with idle chatter about whatever this is.”

      • Vicks says:

        Perhaps Trump intends to crash the event or more likely host some of the influential attendees somewhere and remind them of their debt to him.
        Doesn’t he have a golf course near DC?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Kushner and Trump’s homicidal mishandling of Covid in 2020, though apparently memory-holed now, remains top of mind for me. This includes the initial delivery of (faulty) tests, for which a vague entity listed as “WH” paid 52M, money that went to UAE (for, I repeat, nothing).

        I know J6 is more urgent, but I keep wondering what the MAL papers contain regarding the Covid disaster. When I saw “medical information” in Judge Cannon’s order, it was my second thought.

        If they’re getting the band back together to fundraise off the Trump/Kushner Middle East venture, that has ties to a lot of potentially incriminating stuff. I doubt Trump would make such a trip in golf clothes, but that could be a strategy.

  19. dimmsdale says:

    @Angry_Staffer (a tweeter with a rather deep knowledge of NatSec affairs) sez: “Guys, clearly DOJ wants the documents Trump ate back and have subpoenaed a colonoscopy for recovery.” If that’s the case, I hope it’s nice and painful!

  20. SMF88011 says:

    This is a serious post now. I wonder if he was forced to return to DC due to his being told that the DOJ is getting a search warrant for his Ablemarle Estate or Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls. He could be going there to quickly search for things he shouldn’t have so he can remove them before the FBI arrives.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      An obstruction trap? They drop the hint and arrest Trump when he gets wherever he’s going?

      Or maybe the FBI/Justice Dept/Whoever trying to catch an internal Trumpist mole? Maybe they gave everyone they suspect a different Trump property, and Agent Smith, Agent Jones, or Agent Brown will be arrested depending on which property Trump runs to!

  21. Savage Librarian says:

    Some snarky options:

    1. He wants to be in tip-top shape to attend Elizabeth’s funeral, whether he’s invited or not. So, he’s getting a Regeneron treatment.

    2. Putin DM’ed him saying, “I have a treenie weenie favor to ask.” So, Trump is getting a physical and some supplemental boosters before he goes to Moscow to take a spin on the new giant ferris wheel with his favorite autocrat. He thinks he’ll finally get his hotel, too.

  22. MattyG says:

    …in all the commotion a small convoy of Econoline vans laden with file boxes slipped out the service exit of Bedminster. Zounds! a crafted distraction!

  23. JohnForde says:

    My favorite kind of speculation – completely irresponsible, so here goes.
    DOJ offers DJT a quiet arrest in DC and includes air travel. Trump pre-empts by taking his own airplane and once airborne tries to take the yoke (just like J6!) to fly into exile. Again he fails.
    As Marcy says, these producers never cease to amaze with their ability to come up with new plot twists.

  24. NoChops says:

    First time commenter here so take it for what it’s worth – one interesting clue in the video of his arrival at IAD: Loudoun County Sheriff’s unit on the tarmac. The only real reason for Loudoun County to be there is that TFG was heading to his club at Lowe’s Island – in Loudoun County. That doesn’t suggest the reason for his trip to DC area but it does seem to remove Walter Reed and other DC locations as his immediate destination.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s a very interesting bit of information, thanks. Squares with the videographer/photographer’s observation that the motorcade didn’t go toward DC.

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s probably the only place he could stay in the DC area without paying Big Zorkmids for an unreserved suite.

        • Rayne says:

          There are no obvious rooms for occupancy at the Trump National-DC, though. The resort’s website doesn’t have any listed except offering venue rental for weddings, conferences, so on.

          I have to assume there’s some neighboring property like a house alongside the course which might provide a place to stay.

    • neandrothal says:

      First-time commenter here as well—cannot resist jumping in on the “base speculation” thread.

      IAD is actually located *in* Loudoun County, VA, so the presence of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s vehicle could simply be because any transit out of IAD would have to be through Loudoun County.

  25. Badger Robert says:

    Because the person transported is Donald Trump, we have two more possibilities to consider.
    1. He assaulted somebody and the Sec Serv did not want him arrested in Jersey. He has virtually no inhibitions left. And 2 is related:
    2. The Secret Service has decided he needs nursing care and the agency has reached its limit. Walter Reed might not be the immediate destination, but it may be the ultimate destination.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It also would rule out Bethesda, I would think. As noted above, there are plenty of good hospitals closer to Bedminster than DC, and there did not appear to be any obvious strains shown by Individual-1.

      Given how risky it is for Individual-1 to be in DC because of the unfavorable jury pool, I would expect we will be hearing from DoJ soon. My guess is that it is about the PRA and classified documents since those would originate in DC. So, I think this is an interview request-which-could-not-be-refused and we’ll see what makes it into ‘Truth Social’ later.

  26. StevenL says:

    I see Team Trump has now filed their response to the government’s motion for a stay:

    Running list of blatant errors that suggest a lack of good faith on part of plaintiff:
    1. reference at p. 12 to “classified information” in connection with 18 USC 793, which of course actually refers to “information relating to the national defense”;
    2. claim at p. 15 that all records at issue are either Presidential Records or personal records, when in fact the records at issue in the government’s stay request are likely virtually all government records that are not Presidential Records (though this raises the question–for me, at least–of how to categorize an agency record that POTUS scrawls notes on)

    • P J Evans says:

      Ignoring that presidential records belong to the government via NARA, not to him personally. Which has been explained enough that he should know. Even if they’re agency records that he scribbled on.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        This time around they are trying to exploit PRA, and a lot of disingenuous nonsense including the WaPo story. Brief flatters the judge, twisting her order’s language while spouting it back to her, and leans heavily on classification, as if it were an ambiguous status Trump could determine at will.

  27. Chuffy says:

    “Oddly enough, there’s a current event about which folks can speculate and yammer to their hearts’ content:”

    Just not here?

    • HEW says:

      LOL. Plus this:

      “Okay, have at it. Do your worst in this thread. Do NOT pollute other threads with idle chatter about whatever this is.”

      It’s not unreasonable to interpret those various remarks as an invitation to speculate here. I imagine those receiving criticism for doing so were taken aback.

      • ScorpioJones, III says:

        Obviously there is a hierarchical pecking order here, some folks being able to say anything that pops into their minds, others, not so much. Its unfortunate, but it appears das da way dey roll.

      • Rayne says:

        We moderators aren’t always on the same page. You’d be surprised at how much latitude our resident cholla cactus allows which I would otherwise curtail if I had gotten to it first.

        If everybody stays on topic in other posts and leaves the speculative and off-topic chatter in this Open Thread, we’ll be fine.

    • Phil_12SEP2022 says:

      that’s not his style. I guess we will see eventually.

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Phil,” “Philip,” or “Phillip.” Because we have so many community members with a similar name, yours will be modified to reflect first comment date until you have chosen a new unique name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      LOL she’s wallpapering Twitter with that Trump friendly explanation — tweeted into replies eight times by my count.

      (Side note: I dislike my youngest moving deeper into Trump friendly territory.)

    • RacerX says:

      Thanks, EW. That rules most of the wilder speculations out, but what logical explanations remain for TFG’s apparently rush-rush trip to DC?

        • Rayne says:

          He’s so pathetic. He felt compelled to respond.

          I wonder if he got kicked out of Bedminster by Melania because she needed the place but can’t go to Mar-a-Lago because it’s under too much scrutiny, and he’s not comfortable at his courses in NY.

          Or his ex-wife started haunting him at Bedminster. LMAO

          • BirdGardener says:

            Oh, I like that one! It would explain the rush, the disheveled appearance: he saw her ghost! Had A Christmas Carol experience!

            Should blend this into the proposed opera.

    • rosalind says:

      Trump would’ve gotten an advance copy of MagHabs book. Someone on his end would become aware of Jared’s quote about “The priest comes later” – why he was sending others and not himself to get Trump to accept his loss. Trump does not take this kindly and jumps on the plane to pull focus from Jared’s D.C. appearance.

      alt. Trump jumps on plane and demands a bigger role at the D.C. event to pull focus from Jared.

  28. Raven Eye says:

    Not to add to the speculation, I’ll add one possible scenario to the Flight of the Spikes…

    If there was a medical emergency of some kind whilst Trump was on the golf course at Bedminster, the recommendation from medical personnel might come as the standard “Stabilize, Transport, and Treat”. If a helicopter medivac wasn’t needed, the standard method would be with the patient in the back of an ambulance, escorted by black SUV’s, to a public hospital. It would turn into a media and public circus.

    Does that sound like something The Donald would do?

    However, hustled to a private jet and flown to IAD could get the services of Walter Reed staff (people who would be much more polite and circumspect that civilian hospital personnel) but maybe with Trump in a more private/controlled setting away from the scene of the “event” — and without having to negotiate DC traffic. (Several routes from IAD to Trump’s golf course are entirely within Loudoun County.)

    • Badger Robert says:

      And that puts him near Walter Reed, which may be what the Secret Service thinks will be the ultimate destination.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is a drama queen, but he wants to control the venue. He hates not to look his best, whatever that is. And he’s a cheap bastard. He probably doesn’t have private health insurance, now that he’s an unemployed, ex-government worker. Too expensive, and he has too many preexisting conditions. (Even if uninsured, Trump would probably have Trump Org. pick up any medical tab as a fringe benefit.) But his lifelong motto is why pay, or pay full rate, if you can get someone else to pick up the tab.

      So, if he had a medical emergency that was serious but not immediately life threatening, I suspect he would opt for Walter Reed. Apart from the secrecy it provides, he would be treated to unassuming pomp and circumstance 24/7, everything except Elgar’s music. Plus, it’s home turf for the Secret Service, and it would be easier to protect him there.

      Then there’s deflecting through victimhood whatever bad news he anticipates happening this week. He pretends to be superman, so the news would be bad.

      • CJ says:

        > He probably doesn’t have private health insurance, now that he’s an unemployed, ex-government worker. Too expensive, and he has too many preexisting conditions. (Even if uninsured, Trump would probably have Trump Org. pick up any medical tab as a fringe benefit.) But his lifelong motto is why pay, or pay full rate, if you can get someone else to pick up the tab.

        He doesn’t need private health insurance; he qualifies for Medicare.

  29. rosalind says:

    DailyMail has photos up (not linking) showing Trump and Eric and 7 other men gathered on a green, in discussion, no golf clubs in sight. Suppose it could be some business discussion re. the golf course.

    • Rayne says:

      I’d run across that in my timeline but I had no way to validate when the photo was taken. Wonder if Trump org is thinking about liquidating assets.

        • Rayne says:

          Purely speculation and conjecture on my part, must emphasize.

          But…do you see what I see? Or what I don’t see?
          Former President Donald Trump drove his own cart, accompanied by son Eric. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP via New York Post

          There are no golf clubs in that cart.

              • MB says:

                Bushes?? Spray-painted blue and white, with the white in a “star” pattern? Rayne’s explanation as tee markers makes sense.

                • Troutwaxer says:

                  Those would be gigantic tee markers. If my grasp on perspective is right – the objects are a long way into the background – they’d be about three feet tall. I haven’t paid golf in decades, but I never saw a tee-marker more than six inches high.

                  Of course that would be typical of Trump. “Our amazing golf courses have the world’s biggest tee-markers, really huge, bigger and better than the competition’s tee-markers!

                    • Troutwaxer says:

                      What it does look like is that I misjudged the distance – if your sharpening is good they’re closer than I thought. Still not sure whether they’re markers or bushes. Probably not worth worrying about further. (But you should use your gimp-knowledge on the faces. That might be interesting.)

                    • Rayne says:

                      They’re definitely tee markers without even needing the modified image. The photo is weird because of the focus at a distance and the tee elevation above the car path.

                      The weird reflection on them could be easily explained by the tees’ shape or some logo/design/decorative trim on them.

                    • MB says:

                      To my warped imagination, they look like small tree branches, spray-painted white, and look like a single hiragana character, attached to the top of the tee-marker. Maybe they even mean something!

                      Anyway, I digresss…

                  • FLwolverine says:

                    I’ve noticed on TV that sponsors of major golf events often have very large tee markers. They’re used to help advertise the sponsor. eg, a Travellers Insurance tournament had large thick cutouts of red umbrellas.

            • Rayne says:

              Watching that video I’m inclined to think Trump org is thinking about development of the property around the course (which might be a way to raise/launder/hide cash).

    • AlaskaReader says:

      It might be helpful if anyone could identify any of the other subjects in the Daily Mail photos.

      Can anyone identify what is that orange stick being held over that one person’s one shoulder?

      • Rayne says:

        I assume you’re talking about this guy with the red shirt on:

        Those are marking flags, a.k.a. survey flags, stake flags, and irrigation flags used when doing landscaping, irrigation, other topographical work on terrain.

        I don’t think any of these guys are politicos but they aren’t dressed like most contractors I know.

        • AlaskaReader says:

          I was not sure if it’s a golf club with an orange headcover, the angle may serve to foreshorten the perception of the handle length.

          Enlarging the image doesn’t seem to help much but it doesn’t appear to me to be survey stakes or a survey stake, singular.

          I did find this tweet:

          Which is the only reference I’ve seen as to who the other people are but don’t know if it’s accurate.

          • Rayne says:

            I retweeted someone’s enhanced photos. They’re definitely landscaping flags. None of the persons look familiar to me except Trump and Eric, though one individual may match with someone who received a subpoena today but not a well-known person.

            • AlaskaReader says:

              Thx for that.
              I was surprised at the almost universal lack of interest in identifying the other subjects. I would think that key to discovering the goings on.

              Maybe LIV golf people who are looking at logistics of hosting a LIV golf event at that course, or other some other construction centered activities.

              My immediate concern if I was local would be that they are contemplating encroaching on or doing away with the wetlands surrounding the course, knowing that wetlands would only be considered dispensable obstacles to ‘development’.

              …hopefully locals are monitoring future development activity.

            • TXphysicist says:

              I’m often 30 minutes behind you, Rayne, but reaching the exact same conclusions independently, swear on my life

          • Geoguy says:

            Rayne is right, those are survey markers made of wire stakes with plastic flags. A bundle of 50 fits in a hand. They are supposed to be color coded indicating the type of buried utility. For example, orange indicates telecommunications. For the snark, if the flags were white indicating proposed excavation, Trump might be planning his next cemetary.

  30. Stephen Calhoun says:


    Seems that the TFG couldn’t get his golf shoes off and that the only shoe-man he trusts is in DC.

  31. ScorpioJones, III says:

    Serious question for the resident legal scholars: When TFG’s legal team refers to the search warrant as not being “determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.” The reference to “competent” is not necessarily a poke at the magistrate, right?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Here, “competent” means “correct”. If Reinhart’s court in the SDFL was not the correct jurisdiction, then neither is Cannon’s, which is in the same district. Like much else in this spaghetti-thrown-at-the-wall response, it’s not a serious argument. In fact, Reinhart’s court has competent jurisdiction because it is the one Trump claims to reside in.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        What about the specific crimes which the law expects to be dealt with in the DC courts. Would a Florida jurisdiction be competent for those?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When Trump says, “Further, whether it was lawful for the Government to seize these records has yet to be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he’s stepping into a hornets’ nest.

        To properly challenge the legality of a search warrant, a defendant would normally go to the court that issued it: Reinhart’s court.

        The whole effort to get before Cannon is meant to avoid that. For one thing, it’s a criminal matter. Reinhart issued the warrant because the FBI presented probable cause that one or more crimes had been committed, and that evidence of those crimes could be found at the precise location to be searched. It was.

        Team Trump is trying to obscure all that by pretending this is a simple civil matter, but one that involves “massive” government overreach over the proper storage of a few documents. Not.

  32. BroD says:

    Department of Wild Speculation: Perhaps the flight to DC has something to do with DOJ issuing a slew (~40) subpoenas seeking information about the actions of former President Donald Trump and his associates related to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as reported by NYT.

    • BirdGardener says:

      Yes, that’s what I wondered after I saw the news! And the no-golf-club golf outing was to discuss the matter where no one would overhear? I haven’t examined the photos to see if they support or detract from this wild speculation.

      • TXphysicist says:

        From what I can tell, he spent the afternoon today surveying one of his golf courses to make changes for an upcoming LIV golf tournament he’ll be hosting.

        Leftist Twitter was quick to mis-identify everyone he was with as GOP pundits and politicians, but other than Eric Trump, it looked like it was all golf club managers and employees to me. No one I recognized.

        That said, yes, obviously one of the main utilities of golf for Trump is off-the-record discussions of illicit activities. But not today.

        Sorry to say, he doesn’t seem as desperately plotting a strategy to avoid arrest as we’d all like.

        Btw, if my rampant 5-minute-window editings are hell on the moderation team, I can do better. Just let me know.

        • P J Evans says:

          it doesn’t seem like something that would require a rush trip from NJ. even for a micromanager like the former guy.

          • TXphysicist says:

            Agree, I think the two are unrelated.

            Maybe he was swept up in the spirit of “Never Forget”, and made a rush trip to visit the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in D.C.


    • BeingThere says:

      Looking like a meet up at the 5th tee to discuss sime common defense strategy and obstruction of the DOJ investigation behind those 40 subpoenas. Out of range of listening ears, in person, no phone calls or emails (since those could by now be tapped).
      No golf playing, just scheming. One of the press photos looked like TFG and Junior with a few others that looked somewhat familiar.

  33. Chuffy says:

    More wild speculation:

    Seems like the classic, “Let’s all get seen together far away from where those classified documents are being removed/destroyed,” trick. Have everyone following T**** trying to figure out what he’s doing, when what he’s doing is happening elsewhere.

  34. HW3 says:

    He’s trying to convince some loan sharks that his golf club is completely and totally worth the amount he is using it as collateral for and that the value of his name brand is the clincher. No need for any margin calls or broken kneecaps.

  35. 808HL says:

    The MSM is just taking note of MAGA=Make Lawyers Get Lawyers, I think its been out as a liberal blog comment since the Micheal Cohen indictment days. Does anyone have a better recollection or link to when you first heard it?

    • TXphysicist says:

      NYTimes *opened* a recent article by referencing the MAGA rebrand: “A dark joke has begun circulating among lawyers…”, and I just about spooked my cat outta the room laughing. Super dark!! So mean to poor ol’ Trump & co.

      This is the stupidest timeline. Our media is failing us in the most flagrant of fashions.

      • 808HL says:

        The worst part is they are attributing the “dark joke”to conservative lawyers!

        The media already failed us big time blinded by the shiny light that helped get FPOTUS elected in the first place.

  36. Tom R. says:

    Here’s a modest contribution to the collection of unfounded morbid speculation:
    — He is negotiating to sell his golf course at Lowes Island, Loudon County, Virginia.
    — Just like his DC hotel, it is no longer useful as a way of garnering illegal foreign and domestic emoluments, so he is eager to get rid of it.
    — He hates DC almost as much as DC hates him, and he knows he’s never coming back.
    — He needs a lot of money to pay off people who are lawyers whose careers he has ruined, or are witnesses, or are both.
    — He needs the money right now because the billion dollars he hoped to pocket from his social media venture is not happening. The venture is behind on its bills.
    — The RNC is not paying his legal bills in the purloined documents case.
    — You might think he would need to lower the price to get a quick sale, but no, just like the hotel, he can find some KaKistoKrats who are willing to pay 100 million dollars more than it is worth, as a favor to him.
    — In a year or so, the buyers can resell it for pennies on the dollar and take a huge tax deduction on their thinly-disguised political contribution.

  37. Jsbott says:

    Alarms bells: the Veterans Administration is advertising paying veterans $150/day to be election pole workers!!!! In this political climate and veteran/police extremism-why?? !!!

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; your last comment was published as “Sjbott” in case you may have forgotten the order in which S and J appeared in your username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Any chance you have a link to postings at the VA for poll workers? I’m not surprised people are being encouraged to fill election worker positions; we’re in an extremely tight labor market in no small part because many people have died or become disabled due to COVID.

      GOP senator Joni Ernst literally complained about there being too few unemployed workers right now, blaming Biden for full employment. LOL

      • FLwolverine says:

        Well, my goodness, we wouldn’t want businesses to waste money paying a little more to their employees, would we? That money belongs to the owners/shareholders!

  38. Jsbott says:

    Alarms bells: the Veterans Administration is advertising paying veterans $150/day to be election pole workers!!!! In this political climate and veteran/police extremism-why?? !!!

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