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Trump closes Florida vacation with Easter service

President Trump arrives with first lady Melania Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump for Easter services at Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday.
President Trump arrives with first lady Melania Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump for Easter services at Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday. (Alexander Drago/Reuters)

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump smiled but did not respond Sunday to a question about the special counsel report as he entered church for Easter services.

“Happy Easter everybody. Have a great day,” Trump told reporters outside the historic Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. The Trumps were married in the Gothic-style church in 2005.

“A lot of great things are happening for our country,” he said.

Trump’s smile suggested he had heard a shouted question about whether he feels “betrayed” by aides who cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump for a recounting of the Easter story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The sermon from the Rev. James Harlan urged parishioners to be flexible in their faith and worldview.

“Our faith should be the last place in our life where we act like old dogs,” Harlan said.

“Let’s make sure we are not being old dogs, unwilling or unable to see something new.”

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Bethesda-by-the-Sea, an Episcopal congregation dating to the 1890s, live-streamed the service but did not focus on Trump.

The service on a postcard-perfect spring day caps a four-day holiday-weekend visit to Palm Beach and Trump’s beloved Mar-a-Lago Club, which he calls the “Southern White House.” The motorcade from Mar-a-Lago to the church sped past pastel oceanfront mansions and small roadside crowds, with some people waving and cheering and a few giving Trump a middle-finger greeting.

Trump began tweeting before dawn on Sunday, extending condolences to victims of the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka and continuing his commentary about the special counsel report.

The president has tweeted more than 30 times about the Mueller report since a redacted version was made public Thursday. He left Washington for Florida that afternoon.

“Can you believe that I had to go through the worst and most political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States (No Collusion) when it was the “other side” that illegally created the diversionary & criminal event and even spied on my campaign? Disgraceful!” read a tweet from Trump’s account shortly before he left for church on Sunday.

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Mueller did not establish that Trump and his campaign deliberately coordinated with Russia, though the report says Russia sought to help Trump’s campaign and hurt that of his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. Mueller detailed extensive contacts between Russia and Trump associates and noted that the campaign welcomed Russia’s efforts.

Until the Easter service, Trump had remained out of sight since Thursday to all but patrons of Mar-a-Lago and his golfing partners, who included Rush Limbaugh and professional golfer Lexi Thompson on Friday.

Trump was seen in the Mar-a-Lago dining room on Saturday night, the Palm Beach Post reported. It was not clear whether he met officials from Mongolia visiting the club on Saturday. The country’s foreign minister and ambassador were pictured in an Instagram post posing in front of a gilt-framed portrait of a much younger Trump in tennis clothes.

A news photographer captured a fleeting image of the 72-year-old president through the window of his armored car on Friday morning, en route to his private golf club. Trump was wearing glasses, which he rarely does in public, and reading the Wall Street Journal.