According to reports from the Washington Post, President Donald Trump has only been in office for a couple months, but he’s taken 11 trips to the golf club. Critics of Trump’s presidency see this as a sign of weakness, since this is the most golf trips any president has taken in such a short amount of time.
According to representatives of the White House, President Trump has used the course almost exclusively for business purposes. Sources say that his visits most often involve international relations.
Most recently, Trump was seen at Trump International Golf West Palm where representatives say he “may hit a few balls.” They also confirmed that he took part in some business meetings and paused for a few pictures with the locals.
Still, criticism rose from his visits, and the White House called a special press conference to deal with the media. Press secretary Sean Spicer was the spokesperson, saying that he’s used golf for a number of international relations, including that of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Just because he heads there doesn’t mean that [he’s golfing],” Spicer told reporters. “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. How you use the game of golf is something that he’s talked about.”
He also shared that Trump occasionally attends the club to make connections, hold meetings, and make private phone calls. This led Spicer to explain the importance of allowing some privacy for the new president who has arguably seen more media attention during his campaign and first two months of his presidency than any president in American history.
“The president is entitled to a bit of privacy at this point, which we’ve always agreed to,” Spicer said. “We bring the protective pool, but the president is entitled to a bit of privacy as well.”
He went on to explain that Trump had not shared the details of these phone calls and meetings, as a matter of privacy and/or national security.
Trump has also expressed plenty of interest in golfing in the past, frequenting some of the incredible golf clubs and resorts near his New York home. In the past, the president has shared that golf is an excellent way for him to relax, make business deals, and take some much needed personal time.
If he keeps going at his current pace, he’ll soon overtake former president Barack Obama’s record of golfing 333 times during his two terms as president. Obama was also often criticized for his frequent visits to the course, whether he used them for business or pleasure. Interestingly enough, Donald Trump was an open critic of Obama’s golf trips, saying that he wouldn’t visit the courses as often if he were to be elected president.
Despite criticism of their golf habits, it’s true that both presidents are entitled to a certain level of privacy and personal time. The way they choose to spend that time is their choice, and if Trump is creating stronger relationships as a result of his outings, he’s better for it.
Ultimately, Spicer wanted to make it clear that Trump is not slacking on the job while he heads to the green. He reported that the president “will continue to travel around the country” to enjoy golf while cementing relations, and that, “The President’s very clear that he works seven days a week.”
Though Trump will likely continue to receive criticism for his frequent golf visits, understanding the purpose behind it could reduce the impact.