Members of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club got up close and personal with international policy—and apparently the nuclear codes—on Saturday night when Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dined at the estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Richard DeAgazio, a member of the club, posted photos of Trump and Abe dining at the club on his Facebook page.
He posted several images of a man he identified as the presidential aide who carries the nuclear codes, or “football,” identifying the aide by name.
“Rick is the Man,” DeAgazio wrote.
DeAgazio told the Washington Post on Monday that he watched Trump and Abe decide how to handle breaking news that North Korea had test-fired a ballistic missile.
“That’s when I saw things changing,” he said. “The prime minister’s staff sort of surrounded him, and they had a little pow-wow.”
He said that Trump did not look “panicked” and said that most people present “didn’t even realize what was happening.”
“I thought he handled it very calmly, and very presidentially,” DeAgazio told the Washington Post. “He chooses to be out on the terrace, with the members. It just shows that he’s a man of the people.”
“HOLY MOLY !!! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan,” DeAgazio wrote in a Facebook caption on since-deleted photos of Trump and Abe conferring at their table. “Wow…..the center of the action!!!”
He told the Washington Post that the aide he captioned as the “football” carrier did not identify himself as such, but that he “looked it up” on Wikipedia.
“He didn’t say anything to me,” DeAgazio said.
He said he was not concerned about the possibility that Trump and Abe’s conversation could have been overheard.
“You don’t hear anything. You can’t hear,” DeAgazio said. “I mean, I can barely hear what’s going on at my table.”
This is a perfect photo. So of course the original is on the iPhone of a random Mar-a-Lago person with access to the president. pic.twitter.com/bA1miZvyN4
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) February 13, 2017
As first reported by CNN, Trump held an impromptu strategy session with Abe in the middle of Mar-a-Lago’s dining area, in full view of club members.
Trump and Abe read through official documents using the light from aides’ cell phones, per CNN’s report, surrounded by advisers and translators. Both leaders eventually left the dining area and issued a short joint statement from a ballroom elsewhere in the club.
Trump did not take questions after the statement, but made time to appear at a wedding reception in the nearby Grand Ballroom.
“I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, c’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello,” he said, as quoted by CNN.
“They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” the President said of the newlywed couple. “They’ve paid me a fortune.”