Scrambling to portray Trump as engaged, the White House belatedly cancels his trip to Florida resort while the government teeters on a shutdown.

Scrambling to construct Republican Party damage control as the GOP-controlled federal government churns toward a shutdown at midnight on Friday, the White House belatedly announced that Donald Trump will not flee Washington, D.C., this weekend for a planned, black-tie gala at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

The fact that the White House still even had that optics-nightmare event on Trump’s schedule, where the president would be seen hob-knobbing with millionaires while government workers were told to not show up for work, represents the latest example of how slow-footed the Trump team is.

Where most administrations would be anxious to project an image of a hard-working president doing everything possible to make sure the federal government stays open, on Thursday night the White itinerary posted a notice that Trump would depart the White House for Palm Beach, Florida, shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday to visit his private club Mar-a-Lago for the 11th time since he was sworn in.

Not only that, but Trump would be celebrating the one-year anniversary of his inauguration with a $100,000-per-couple gala at his Florida club, the proceeds of which are going to the Trump reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee.

No doubt Trump also planned to play more rounds of Florida golf this weekend.

So while government workers are in danger of being told to stay home because of a shutdown, U.S. troops might not get paid, and drug treatment centers would be ordered closed, Trump was going to spend the weekend frolicking with his rich friends 1,000 miles away from Washington, D.C.

So much for optics.

Critics immediately hammered Trump and the White House for the GOP’s let-them-eat-cake vibe:

Then again, Trump has barely feigned interest in the looming shutdown this week, providing his party with zero leadership.

“We don’t have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with,” Sen. Lindsey Graham complained on Thursday. “This has turned into an s-show for no good reason and the only way out of this thing is to grow up a little bit — and I think that’s going to happen.”

No doubt Trump would rather be surrounded by his Mar-a-Lago sycophants, 800 of whom gathered at the Florida resort Thursday night to toast the one-year anniversary of him being sworn in:

Decked out in red, white, and blue, Trump fans from all over the country danced throughout the evening at the president’s exclusive club, toasted repeatedly to Trump’s accomplishments, chanted his name — along with the occasional campaign favorite “lock her up” — and referred to Trump as a “damn genius,” their “messiah” and “savior.”

Meanwhile, one can only wonder who had to break the news to Trump that he won’t’ be able to go golfing this weekend.