(WASHINGTON) — President Obama, who turns 52 on Sunday, spent Saturday playing golf with friends at Joint Base Andrews, but before he hit the links, he was briefed on the terrorist threat that will cause 21 U.S. embassies to close Sunday.
“Before departing this morning, the president was updated on the potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco. He will continue to be updated through the weekend,” a White House official told reporters.
The State Department has ordered all U.S. embassies to close Sunday. Most are closed anyway on Sundays, except those in Muslim countries, meaning the closures affect 21 embassies in the Muslim world. The State Department also issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans on Friday.
After the briefing, the president’s motorcade left the White House with golf clubs and at least one cooler in tow. Later, he planned to head to Camp David.
Three groups teed off at Andrews, according to a White House official, including a smattering of old friends and former colleagues. Among them were two Chicago friends, Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker. Whitaker attended graduate school with Obama at Harvard. High school friends Mike Ramos and Bobby Titcomb, who was arrested in 2011 in Honolulu on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute, were also there. Obama has played golf with him at least twice since the arrest.
Former aide Reggie Love and Chicago chef Sam Kass, who has also served as a White House chef, senior policy adviser on nutrition, and executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, also played.
Obama was expected to depart for Camp David in the afternoon, returning Sunday.
The presidential golf outing got cool-for-August morning temperatures accompanied by some intermittent, light drizzling rain.
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Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Eli Watkins, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN