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Trump discusses VA after promising 'major meeting'

The Hill logo The Hill 3/19/2017 Brooke Seipel
Trump's 'major meeting' on veterans affairs never happened © Provided by The Hill Trump's 'major meeting' on veterans affairs never happened

President Trump said he would hold a "major meeting" Friday at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., that would be "all about" the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but the Friday meeting apparently never took place.

Instead, the White House said in a release the following evening that Trump spent a portion of his Saturday focusing on the issue.

Trump "spent the early morning and afternoon on issues concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military," according to a read out from the White House late Saturday.

On Saturday evening, the White House said, "Trump had another meeting, including dinner, concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs and how to turn it around for the benefit of our great veterans."

"Great progress is being made and will be reported on in the future," the statement added.

Trump had touted a "major meeting" on the VA during a press conference Friday with VA Secretary David Shulkin.

The president said that he was having a meeting Friday at his private club because "that seems to be the most convenient location. Everybody always wants to go to the Southern White House."

A White House official later told the Palm Beach Post that the meeting would not happen Friday night.

The event never appeared on Trump's official schedule for the day nor was it included on future schedules.

Trump was slated to have a meeting with Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Marvel, on Saturday before dinner, which was closed press, according to pool reports. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was also expected to join Trump and first lady Melania Trump for dinner.

The president had named Perlmutter as one of the people who he expected to attend his "major meeting" on the VA on Friday. Shulkin had indicated he would not be in attendance at Trump's meeting at Mar-a-Lago.

Also on Saturday, Trump met with his national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to discuss "the threat of North Korea" and also "had a long and very fruitful call" with Brazilian President Michel Temer, the White House said.

"The two leaders agreed to work together to promote economic growth in Brazil and the United States. The leaders also discussed the importance of encouraging respect for democratic and humanitarian rights in Venezuela," according to the read out.

Trump has visited his private Mar-a-Lago resort for five weekends so far and has spent nearly a quarter of his time there since taking office.

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