The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump was briefed Saturday night on North Korea’s ballistic missile test in a secure room at his Mar-a-Lago Club, rather than at a dinner table, as photographs taken by onlookers suggested.
WFTL radio host Joyce Kaufman asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer if a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) will be installed at Mar-a-Lago after Trump reportedly held an impromptu strategy session with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the club’s dining area.
“There were apparently conversations that took place by telephone and with the prime minister that were in a relatively insecure dining area,” Kaufman asked at Spicer’s daily briefing. “There is already video of this surfacing. Will there be a SCIF put in place in these dining areas, these public places?”
“There is a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago. And just to be clear, the President was briefed in a SCIF ahead of dinner,” Spicer said.
He said that Trump’s dinner with Abe “was attended exclusively by U.S. and Japanese delegation members” and said onlookers “jumped to nefarious conclusions” about the flurry of activity that subsequently took place.
“There was simply a discussion about press logistics, where to host the event,” he said. “And after the dinner, the President went back into the SCIF to get a further update from his team. So I’m not really sure why people jumped to conclusions.”
As first reported by CNN, Trump conferred with Abe in full view of club members. The two leaders read through official documents using the light from aides’ cell phones before they left the dining area and issued a short joint statement from a ballroom elsewhere in the club.
Richard DeAgazio, a Mar-a-Lago member, posted photos on his Facebook page of Trump and Abe dining together on Saturday.
He told the Washington Post on Monday that he watched Trump and Abe have “a little pow-wow” over breaking news of North Korea’s missile test.
“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 captioned one photo. “Wow…..the center of the action!!!”