Politics

Trump talks Middle East peace, golfs with Tiger Woods

President Donald Trump.
Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump.

Palm Beach, Fla. — Turkey’s president said he discussed the Syrian crisis and other regional issues with in a phone call Friday with President Donald Trump, after Trump tweeted that the two would talk “about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East’.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said the two leaders also discussed ties between Turkey and the United States during their telephone conversation on Friday.

Their discussion comes days after Erdogan attended a trilateral meeting with the Russian and Iranian leaders in Sochi, Russia, to promote a peaceful settlement in Syria.

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Relations between NATO allies Turkey and the United States have soured over a number of issues, including U.S. support to Syrian Kurdish fighters which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

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Trump railed during his campaign about the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq but has boasted about progress under his watch in recent months. Trump has used the $6 trillion figure to describe U.S. spending on Middle East conflicts, though fact checkers have said the number is only partially accurate, since it falls on the high end of analysts’ estimates and includes future costs, such as future medical care and disability benefits as well as nation-building costs.

Trump hit the links with Tiger Woods and pro golfer Dustin Johnson after the Erdogan call.

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In a break from custom, the Trump White House rarely discloses when the president is golfing, let alone whom he golfs with during frequent trips to courses he owns in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia.

Trump and his aides often appear concerned about the perception that he is vacationing during his trips away from the White House, insisting that he is partaking in high level meetings and making calls while staying in Bedminister, New Jersey, or at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

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Woods plans to return to competitive play next week after his most recent back surgery sidelined him for seven months.

Trump also complained again Friday about football players who kneel during the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality. ‘‘Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players,’’ Trump said in one of several tweets Friday morning, accusing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of having ‘‘lost control’’ of what he called a ‘‘hemorrhaging league’’ where ‘‘Players are the boss!’’

Trump’s tweet was in response to one from his social media chief, Dan Scavino. Scavino had shared a Breitbart News story about New York Giants player Olivier Vernon taking the knee during the anthem on Thanksgiving ahead of a game against the Redskins.

The website is run by Trump’s former chief strategist.