What to know about presidential retreat Camp David where Trump travels Friday

President Donald Trump is headed back to the rustic presidential retreat Camp David, the site of many historic discussions and private meetings between presidents and foreign dignitaries.

On Friday, the president will meet with his administration’s national security team at Camp David, along with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence, who cut his week-long trip to Central and South America a day short to attend. The talks will focus on the president’s strategy in Afghanistan and in South Asia, according to White House officials.

Trump’s return to Camp David marks his second trip to the retreat, after his first visit over Father’s Day weekend with First Lady Melania Trump, their 11-year old son Barron and the first lady’s parents.

At the time, Trump tweeted, “Camp David is a very special place. An honor to have spent the weekend there. Military runs it so well and are so proud of what they do!”

Camp David, located in the Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland, has played a prominent role in many presidential administrations, for both diplomatic meetings and personal vacations. The retreat is also an active military installation. Camp David is only a 30-minute helicopter ride from the White House. It is inaccessible to the public.

History of the camp

The camp was originally called Hi-Catoctin by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) prior to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps transforming it into a military installation.

WPA built the recreational area between 1936-1939 and federal employees used it for family camps. President Franklin Roosevelt first visited the camp in April 1942, after which it was chosen as the country location for presidential retreats. He renamed it “Shangri-la,” based on the fictional Himalayan paradise in James Milton’s 1933 novel “Lost Horizon.”

President Dwight Eisenhower renamed the site Camp David during his first visit in honor of his grandson, David.

Eisenhower also named the main president’s lounge “Aspen” in honor of the first lady, Mamie Eisenhower, who grew up in Colorado. The retreat boasts bedrooms, a small office, fireplaces, an outdoor flagstone patio, a heated swimming pool and a single golf hole with multiple tees.

Paul Vathis/AP
President John…

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