Coast Guard OKs kayakers on river near Trump's Virginia golf course

Coast Guard OKs kayakers on river near Trump's Virginia golf course

The commandant of the Coast Guard said Tuesday that kayakers and boaters will still be able to use a portion of the Potomac River near President Trump's golf course when the president is there.

Adm. Paul Zukunft of the Coast Guard said the Coast Guard will allow kayaks, canoes and other watercraft to use the Maryland side of the Potomac river near Trump National Golf Club in Virginia when Trump is using the property.

Previously, the Coast Guard had closed a 2-mile stretch of the river near the course whenever Trump was on site.

Zukunft testified before the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday that the Coast Guard had noted public complaints about the closures, saying "we are making accommodations for the public."

According to a spokesman for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the Coast Guard is working on setting up an area of continuous access for a portion of the area. A public comment period regarding the proposed security changes will last until Aug. 9. In the meantime, boaters are allowed access to the Maryland side of the river under escort from the Coast Guard if Trump is using the Virginia property.

The area affected by the security measure is a part of the river knows as Riley's Lock, which is regularly used by a kayaking program for wounded and disabled veterans, as well as summer camps.

Last week, two House Democrats wrote to the Coast Guard urging that a section of the river remain open. The Democrats' letter blasted Trump, saying he's putting his own needs over other citizens.

"Time and again President Trump, with the aid of the Secret Service, has disregarded the needs of the general public for his own personal benefit and convenience," Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiCicilline bows out of assistant leader race, paving path for Lujan Pelosi vows to expand leadership team Overnight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes MORE (D-Calif.) wrote last week.

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In an interview with The Hill, DeFazio said Trump was "screwing up other people’s vacations and lives” with the river closure.

“That’s a very heavily utilized part of the Potomac,” DeFazio said. “Closing the entire river randomly — because the president’s schedule isn’t announced in advance — would be incredibly disruptive. It’ll hurt commercial outfitters; it’s going to ruin people’s vacations. … And I think it’s unnecessary."

“The most polite alternative would be for Trump to recognize that he’s screwing up other people’s vacations and lives.”