What Donald Trump’s giant White House golf simulator says about him
(CNN)Within the last few weeks, President Donald Trump had a room-sized golf simulator installed in his personal quarters at the White House, according to The Washington Post.
This should not be at all that big a deal. As the Post noted, Trump paid for the simulator and the installation out of his own pocket. And, as the Post also noted, former President Barack Obama had an “older, less sophisticated” golf simulator installed in the White House during his time there.
Presidents have a lot on their minds. And they can’t just duck out to play a quick 18 holes on a whim. If swinging a club in a gold simulator helps them think, more power to them!
The private citizen — and even presidential candidate — Donald Trump repeatedly bashed former President Barack Obama for how much he played golf, and pledged that he wouldn’t have any time for the sport if he was elected.
“Pres Obama is not busy talking to Congress about Syria..he is playing golf …go figure,” Trump tweeted in 2013.
And this from 2014: “Obama has admitted that he spends his mornings watching @ESPN. Then he plays golf, fundraises & grants amnesty to illegals.”
And even this from 2016: “President Obama should have gone to Louisiana days ago, instead of golfing. Too little, too late.”
It wasn’t just that Trump didn’t approve of Obama’s golfing. It was that he pledged as a candidate that he wouldn’t repeat Obama’s mistakes!
“If I win I may never see my property — I may never see these places again,” he said in August 2016. “But because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go golfing, believe me. Believe me. Believe me, folks.”
Now, I suppose you could argue that playing golf on a simulator in the White House isn’t the same thing as playing golf outside. And that a golf simulator is a more efficient way to play that takes less time because, well, you don’t need to drive to an actual course or walk to every shot you hit.
But to do that excuses Trump’s broader hypocrisy here.
Trump played golf on February 3 with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. It was his 168th visit to a Trump golf property since he has been President — although the White House very rarely confirms that Trump plays golf during his visit to his golf courses. (Of course, he spends five-ish hours there — the time it takes to play a round of golf — and is always dressed to play golf.)
According to calculations made by The Washington Post’s Philip Bump, Trump has played a round of golf every 5.4 days of his time in the White House — and that average number of days was much lower before Trump effectively stopped playing golf from Thanksgiving through February — due in large part to the 35-day government shutdown, the longest in political history. (Obama’s pace over his two terms was a round of golf every 8.8 days; he played 333 total rounds of golf over his eight years as president.)
Again, NONE of this should matter. Not the golf. Not the golf simulator. But Trump has only himself to blame. If you are going to make playing golf a standard by which presidential work rate is judged, then you have to abide by it.
Or, because it’s Trump, maybe he doesn’t. After all, as the President tweeted earlier this week: “No president ever worked harder than me (cleaning up the mess I inherited)!”
So, that should clear that up!