`Even before his campaign for President, Donald Trump disparaged President Obama in a tweet, complaining “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf?”
In fact Trump has complained about President Obama going golfing at least eleven times, all the while promising the American people that he would never go on vacation or hit the links because “I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf!”
Now that he is in the White House himself, however, Trump has spent nearly every weekend at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort doing the exact same thing that he criticized Obama for, except at a phenomenally greater cost to the American taxpayer. Plus, with all the extra staff traveling along with him and staying at his resort, he’s been lining his own pockets with government money at the same time.
Now, as people begin blasting Trump on his hypocrisy, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is trying to defend his boss with some laughable spin. After Trump’s tenth visit to Mar-a-Lago since his inauguration, Spicer is now claiming that the President uses his time on the links differently than former President Obama did.
As an example, Spicer spoke about Trump hosting a round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the resort:
“You saw him utilize this as opportunity with Prime Minister Abe to help foster deeper relationships in Asia and have a growing relationship that’s going to help U.S. interests,” Spicer told reporters.
“How you use the game of golf is something that he’s talked about.”
Of course, most people would assume that any President who spends time with foreign leaders playing golf would be helping build a better relationship, but so far Trump’s record of relationship-building with our foreign allies has been nothing short of disastrous.
His refusal to shake German Prime Minister’s Angela Merkel’s hand last week was an unprovoked insult to one America’s closest allies and was a major scandal in diplomatic circles. His behavior played right into the hands of Russia who have been scheming for decades to disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Germany.
Moreover, his accusations that the British intelligence agency GCHQ was recruited by President Obama to spy on the Trump campaign have strained relationships with another of America’s most important allies – and was discovered to have been based on conspiracy theories originating in Russian state media.
The White House’s mounting sensitivity to the pervasive feeling that Trump is enjoying sun and fun-filled weekends at taxpayer expense–rather than doing the job he was elected to do–is evident in Spicer’s insistent spin that Trump has also held meetings and phone calls at the resort.
The NY Times has tried to get the bottom of what Trump has actually been doing during his mini-vacations to his golf course, but since reporters are not given access to the President’s activities while he’s there and the White House has not been forthcoming with details, we are only left with speculation – and since Trump hasn’t proposed any major legislation or policy changes since his inaugural slew of executive orders, we can only assume he’s playing hooky.
When asked by reporters why the White House doesn’t simply provide greater details of the meetings that Trump has while at Mar-a-Lago to prove that he’s actually accomplishing anything while he’s there, Spicer avoided providing any further information.
“The president is entitled to a little bit of privacy at some point,” Spicer said.
Given the fact that Trump is still the only President in recent memory to not release his current tax returns, it seems like the problem with this administration is too much privacy, along with too much golfing.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.