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December 19, 2017

Good times in the mountains

Harry M. Covert

The top law officer of the nation described a “wonderful weekend” at the Naval Support Facility in Thurmont, Maryland. He wasn’t on a destroyer. Naturally it’s impossible in the Catoctin Mountains.


Before stepping on the Marine One helicopter to depart, he took time to meet with the top lawman of Frederick County, Maryland.


Smiles, handshakes and general good times on Sunday afternoon were the order of the day at that beautiful country retreat known as Camp David.


President Donald J. Trump, always a “hail-fellow-well-met,” looked Chuck Jenkins in the eye and said “you look like the sheriff.” That was nice.


The presidential getaway is some 11 minutes or 5.3 miles from picturesque Thurmont. While the Navy handles all the needs of the facility, the Marines from Washington’s barracks provide security.


The county’s sheriff’s office is always on duty supplementing additional protection when the presidential party comes to the 200-acre retreat, formerly property of the U.S. Park Service.


The president tweeted from the Mountains that he had a productive weekend. He was welcomed by the Navy commander in charge of daily operations and the hand-picked sailors assigned to the mountains.


A true expert on Camp David is longtime Frederick journalist Ann Burnside Love. She was fully credentialed to cover many previous presidents and special events. To this day she has great stories of past events and the international figures who took advantage of recreation.


Of course, many journalists enjoyed looking for all kinds of stories. Lots of them enjoyed restaurants like The Shamrock and the former Cozy in Thurmont. It wasn’t unusual for members of the fourth estate to lollygag in Frederick City, hobnobbing with local gentry while covering presidents. Their “swindle sheets” — expenses — must have been large.


Apparently Sunday past was a weekend away from The White House, but not away from official business. “Forty-five” was wearing his ball cap with USA emblazoned as he arrived and then departed in his customary blue suit – but tieless.


One of Trump’s distinctive styles is smart salutes to the military on duty coming and going. That respect carries over to the protective teams from local jurisdictions, too.


As most every presidential watcher is probably aware, it was General-President Ike Eisenhower who named the previous Shangri-La after his grandson.


No rumors have surfaced that another name change is in the offering.


The president did say after arriving back on White House grounds that he was not going to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller. This probably caused much dismay among those hoping to create more havoc for him. It’s often said an innocent man doesn’t need an alibi.


The occupant at 1600 most certainly is always smiles, happy and well in command. That happy countenance appears to be biblical, “a soft answer turns away wrath.” Without question, his critics turn pale.


While security at Camp David was perfect, the protectors were in top form.


Sheriff Jenkins and his deputies were dressed “Sheriffy casual in the outdoor setting. Tactical pants, boots and green fleece jacket. Perfect for the occasion!”


Escapes from high-powered duties can always be fun, even when the business at hand is international, national and local.


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