President Donald Trump is taking heat for remaining on the golf course Saturday while the panicked citizens of Hawaii feared what appeared to be an imminent missile strike on the island.
The president was on the course at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, after the alert was issued at 1:09 p.m. EST, according to press pool reports. His motorcade didn’t leave the club for Mar-a-Lago until 1:38 p.m.
Although Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency quickly tweeted that the initial warning was an error, it took 38 minutes before a second mobile alert declared the first a false alarm. Officials said the wrong button had been pushed.
Trump did not respond to the incident via Twitter, his seemingly preferred platform, nor with an official statement on the matter. He chose instead to tweet about 'fake news'.
One White House official said the president “briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise”; another told CNN that Trump was briefed in person by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy national security adviser Ricky Waddell and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
A senior administrative official told Politico that there was no military response around the president during the incident because there was no actual threat detected by the military. The source also said that Trump’s Cabinet hasn’t yet tested plans for how they would respond in such an attack.