WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump is once again at his “Winter White House” in Palm Beach.
Trump’s motorcade was met by cheers as his made his way to Mar-a-Lago on Friday.
The president, accompanied by his wife Melania and their son Barron, even made a surprise stop on a stretch of roadway lined with supporters.
He stepped out of the car, waving, pointing and giving thumbs ups. His actions brought one woman to tears.
But Trump had quite a day before retreating to his Palm Beach estate.
Earlier in the day, while in Washington, the president met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
During a news conference, President Trump was asked by a German reporter about his unsubstantiated allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones.
“As far as wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps,” he said, gesturing to Merkel.
It was a reference to Obama-era surveillance of Chancellor Merkel’s cellphone by the National Security Agency.
The president’s use of the word wiretapping is at odds with his own comments just days ago.
“Wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff. But that really covers surveillance and many other things,” he said.
Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have said no surveillance of Trump Tower took place.
The president also amplified another unverified allegation – that Mr. Obama used British intelligence to spy on him.
Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano made the accusation Tuesday.
“President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ. What the heck is GCHQ? That’s initials for the British spying agency,” Napolitano said.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer cited that report at Thursday’s White House briefing.
The GCHQ issued a rare public rebuke, saying the allegation is “utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
But the president took no responsibility for the breach of protocol with the UK, one of America’s closest allies.
“I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox,” Trump said.
Fox anchor Shepard Smith responded to the president’s comments moments after the press conference.
“Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way full stop,” Smith said.
As for what Trump has planned for the weekend, it’s unclear.
What is clear is that his trips to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers big money. CBS News reports American taxpayers spend more than $3 million each time Trump heads to the “Winter White House.”