Saturday, May 6, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He played his 20th (or 21st) round of golf during his 33rd visit to a Trump-branded property since taking office.

Trump is taking a long weekend at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, NJ. The club is expected to replace Mar-a-Lago as his new weekend destination with the closing of the social season in Palm Beach. (The traditional summer retreat for the President is Camp David in central Maryland, but Trump doesn't care for it.) Trump directly profits from attention he draws to these properties, which he has refused to place in a blind trust. As The Independent reports, as of Sunday, Trump will have spent exactly one-third of the days of his presidency at a Trump-branded property.

Trump's sensitivity over his golfing, given how vehemently he objected to President Obama hitting the links, is already an old story--in part because of how often Trump golfs. It's already unclear how many rounds of golf Trump has played since taking office, because his staffers have gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal him from reporters' view when he takes "meetings" at golf courses. On one occasion, garbage bags were taped over windows in the Mar-a-Lago press room to hide its view of the tees. On others, spokespeople have made vague references to "hitting a few balls" or "playing a few holes" of what turn out to be complete rounds. (One way or another, though, confirmation usually follows after the fact.)

Trump tweeted yesterday that he is saving taxpayers money by visiting Bedminster rather than his Trump Tower residence. This is true, although much less than he would if he were willing to spend a weekend at the White House. Shortly after sending that tweet, he signed a temporary budget bill allocating $61m in emergency compensation for local law enforcement in places he visits. 

Who cares?

  • A president who spends his weekends living at golf resorts probably shouldn't bother trying to engineer doubt about whether he's golfing.
  • It's bad if a president's work schedule is determined by what will be good for his businesses.