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CNN has learned that the President will host the members of his Cabinet at the secluded government-owned retreat in Maryland starting Friday. They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, spanning from the administration’s legislative strategy for tax reform to the growing nuclear crisis in North Korea.
Though the itinerary will be likely be focused on the administration’s growing September to-do list, the getaway also comes as the President and his hurricane response team are grappling with the threat of a second storm hitting the United States just two weeks after Hurricane
Harvey ravaged Texas and Louisiana. Hurricane Irma is predicted to make potential landfall in Florida on Sunday, and Trump said in the Oval Office Wednesday that it “looks like it could be something that will be not good.”
“Believe me, not good,” he added.
But that isn’t the only storm the President is weathering these days.
Trump bucked Republican congressional leadership — and a member of his own Cabinet — when he struck a deal with Democrats and agreed to attach relief funding for Hurricane Harvey to a short-term increase in the debt ceiling as part of an agreement that would keep the government open until mid-December.
Because the move was something House Speaker Paul Ryan had rejected just hours earlier, the President stunned him, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin when he ignored their advice and backed the deal proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after he met with leaders from both parties in the Oval Office Wednesday.
Sources told CNN the move left Republicans “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed.”
“We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Trump told reporters after the meeting, without mentioning the Republican leaders who were also there.
Before he took office, Trump once described Camp David as a “very rustic” place that he figured he would like “for about 30 minutes.” And because he tended to favor his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, when he first took office, the President didn’t make his inaugural trip to Camp David until Father’s Day weekend in mid-June, when he was joined by first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron.
Trump has returned to the presidential getaway several times since then. In mid-August, Trump met with several members of his national security team — including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster — there to discuss strategy in South Asia. He also recently monitored Hurricane Harvey from there during the last weekend in August.
A source familiar said because of logistics and limited lodging space, half of the Cabinet will travel to the 125-acre retreat on Friday and stay overnight. The rest of the Cabinet will travel there on Saturday, when a full Cabinet meeting will take place. The first half of the Cabinet will then return to Washington Saturday while the second half stays the night and returns Sunday.