President Trump’s golf outings have social and monetary consequences

Newly elected president ignores the cost of hypocrisy


Photo by submitted

Although there is nothing illegal or unethical about a president playing a few rounds of golf, Trump’s frequent outings have significant consequences for his constituents.

From the beginning, President Donald Trump has made his position on vacations clear. Since the president has so much to do, he said he would rarely leave the White House.

Because of his strong beliefs, Trump has had no qualms about calling out former President Barack Obama on his behavior via his favorite social media platform.

“Can you believe that, with all the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter,” tweeted Trump in October 2014.

Yes, Mr. President; it’s unbelievable the president played golf while many problems plagued the United States. Of course, that’s exactly what Trump has done nearly every weekend during his brief time in office.

Of the 39 days Trump has been in office, he has spent six on the golf course.

Of course, there is nothing new about the president playing a few rounds during his time in office. Dwight Eisenhower had a notorious golf addiction, and for fear of being compared to him, John F. Kennedy kept the media away from his golf outings.

What’s troubling about Trump’s frequent golf outings is he doesn’t seem to realize the cost of his hypocrisy, both social and monetary. Either that, or he simply doesn’t care.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and professor at Rice University, said he believed the latter.

“Donald Trump has zero worry about contradicting himself, because he does it all day long,” Brinkley said. “He says one thing and then does another, and his supporters don’t hold it against him.”

Trump’s golfing situation just adds to a growing list of broken promises and retracted statements. But his outings matter because there doesn’t seem to be a motive for their sheer volume.

Trump has been quoted many times saying if he ever went golfing, he would use it as a diplomatic opportunity rather than an outing with friends.

However, reports have only been released concerning two of the six golf outings. So far, the only diplomat present has been Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Others of Trump’s golfing companions include PGA Tour pros Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els, former New York Yankee Paul O’Neill and CEO of Clear Sports, LLC Garry Singer.

As Trump is not using golf as a venue for diplomacy, Barry Bennett, a consultant who worked on his campaign, said golf was a way for the president to decompress.

Golf might serve as a way for Trump to charge his batteries, but the secrecy of the administration does not justify it. In fact, the media was sent to a public library parking lot when Trump played in West Palm Beach, and when he played at the Jupiter Golf Club they were kept in a meeting room, where the windows and doors were covered in black plastic.

In addition, Trump’s staff has shown immense hesitation to admit the president was golfing. On Feb. 19, White House Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told Florida reporters the president would play a “couple of holes” over the weekend.

It wasn’t until Rory McIlroy posted a photo of him and the president to the Internet, stating they had played a full 18 holes, that Sanders clarified Trump had “intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer.”

These excessive golfing ventures also do not justify the mounting cost, which have amounted approximately $10 million. This includes the cost for additional Coast Guard units and other security and staff necessary when moving the president.

Trump and others, including the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, gave former President Barack Obama criticism for his travel expenses, which were estimated at $97 million over his eight years in office.

“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said about Obama. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”

Within his first weeks in office, Trump is on track to rack up hundreds of millions of dollars more in travel expenses than Obama.

Trump’s habits should be a concern for the American people beyond the pricetag of his travels,  which has ballooned beyond the expenses of past presidents. It’s disconcerting because Trump is continuing to alienate the media and people who are frightened over the future of the country.

At this point, it almost doesn’t matter why Trump is spending all his time golfing. It matters what it looks like, and right now, it doesn’t look good to the American public.