BELTSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Touring the suburban facility where Secret Service agents sharpen their skills, President Donald Trump applauded Friday as his press secretary rolled up in a Dodge Charger after taking a hair-raising spin around a driver training course.
The smell of burnt rubber permeated the air as the car carrying a smiling Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House social media director Dan Scavino and Ronnie Jackson, Trump's doctor, returned to the starting point at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Maryland after its driver navigated an obstacle course of orange cones at high speeds, screeching on the turns.
Big smiles were on everyone's faces as they got out of the vehicle.
Huckabee Sanders said by email that the experience was "amazing" and showed the "incredible skill" of the Secret Service.
Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, was on his first visit to the facility, which belongs to the federal agency that is charged with providing around-the-clock protection for the president and his immediate family.
Trump has described the Secret Service as "phenomenal." Critics have complained that Trump's frequent weekend travel to his homes in Florida and New Jersey, along with business and other travel by some of his adult children, is taxing the agency's budget.
The president arrived by helicopter from the White House and was driven first to a canine training facility. The grassy area is bound by chain-link fencing, and suitcases of various shapes and sizes were laid out in a row on the ground.
Trump and his wife met agency personnel. The White House did not allow journalists to see what the president saw after several barking dogs were brought out from a nearby facility. Huckabee Sanders said they saw several K-9 demonstrations.
At the vehicle training course, reporters watched as Trump absorbed the details relayed to him by Secret Service training staffers about two former presidential vehicles the agency keeps there on display. One is a 1993 Cadillac limousine last used by President Bill Clinton. The other is a 1983 Cadillac convertible with the roof down. Before entering politics, Trump explored the idea of producing a line of Cadillac-body limousines bearing his name, according to his 1987 book, "Trump: The Art of the Deal."
Then it was time for the driving demo. White House staffers took turns going out on the course with the drivers. Trump and the first lady watched from beneath a canopy.
Trump also visited the firing range between stops, Huckabee Sanders said.
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