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Guests at Trump club join audience for president's press conference

Dozens of guests at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE's private club in Bedminster, N.J., huddled together in a ballroom to watch his Friday evening news conference, apparently flouting the state's coronavirus restrictions.

The onlookers made for an unusual scene, as some adults held wine glasses and others were accompanied by their children in anticipation of Trump's remarks addressing stalled coronavirus talks on Capitol Hill.

Some attendees wore their golf attire, while guests had their temperatures taken prior to the event.

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New Jersey’s coronavirus restrictions require that golf courses limit the number of patrons in an indoor part of the property to 25 percent capacity or no more than 25 people, while also requiring that all workers and customers wear face coverings.

Few of the patrons at Bedminster were seen wearing face coverings ahead of Trump's remarks, but reporters in attendance said staff began handing out masks and asking guests to spread out just before the president took to the lectern.

A spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) declined to comment on the gathering.

A reporter asked during the press conference about Trump's insistence that the virus will "disappear," noting that some of the patrons in his club were not abiding by social distancing guidelines. The guests began booing, and Trump jumped to their defense, calling it a "peaceful protest."

"You can call it political activity but I’d call it a peaceful protest because they heard you were coming up, and they know the news is fake," Trump said. "They understand it better than anybody. They asked whether or not they can be here."

 

Trump teased the topics for the news conference on Twitter. The event had been called abruptly after the White House said early in the day that the press would not see the president.

"I will be doing a news conference on the ChinaVirus, the just announced very good economic numbers, and the improving economy, at 7pm from Bedminster, New Jersey," Trump tweeted. "Also, the subject of the Beirut, Lebanon catastrophe will be discussed."

Trump went on to speak for roughly 40 minutes, boasting at length about his administration's accomplishments before taking questions from four reporters.

Trump is spending the weekend at his New Jersey property and is scheduled to attend a fundraiser in the Hamptons on Saturday before returning to Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

Updated at 8:19 p.m.