Now that he’s president, Trump frequently departs the White House and spends the weekend golfing at either his South Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, or his country club in the New Jersey suburb of Bedminster. The promise he’d made a year before was discarded so quickly, you have to wonder if he even remembers making it. Politico did the legwork: George W. Bush didn’t golf for the first five months of his presidency, while Obama stayed away from his beloved links for four months following his inauguration. Trump held out for all of two weeks. He has visited a golf club 40 times since taking office in January, according to the self-explanatory site Trump Golf Count, which estimates the forays have cost American taxpayers $55 million. Another Trump tracker, this one by The New York Times, finds that his visits to Trump-branded properties total 56 days, nearly a third of his time in office.
(Motivated by motivational posters)
Trump’s friends say golf is important to his well-being, just as cycling and rock climbing are de rigueur for the younger titans of Silicon Valley. “He is always working,” longtime confidant Roger J. Stone Jr. tells me, “even while socializing, playing golf or traveling. He is constantly asking questions, taking notes and placing phone calls.
His many detractors see it differently. If the golf bothers them—and, judging by the number of websites devoted to chronicling Trump’s excursions, it does—it is only because they see it as symbolic of a lackadaisical approach to the presidency. “This is the laziest, most ignorant president in history,” says MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell. Sure, take MSNBC with a grain of nonpartisan salt, but all those who believe, as O’Donnell does, that Trump is the most ineffectual occupant of the Oval Office in the nation’s history cite, for one, his well-reported lack of involvement in congressional legislative efforts. They point to the numbers like doctors surveying grim lab results: only one solo press conference since his inauguration (he has held joint press conferences with foreign heads of state, after which he usually entertains questions from the press), and just a single foray west of the Mississippi since taking office (and that for a campaign rally). He’s visited neither Iraq nor Afghanistan.
In the first six months of his presidency, Trump found the time to send 1,029 tweets. They include accusations of Obama “tapping” Trump Tower, juvenile taunts hurled at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warmed-over insinuations about the Clintons cribbed from Fox News, complaints about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, complaints about “the Republicans” and endless laments about “fake news,” many of them followed by assertions that are comically untrue.
Of course, many critics want Trump to fail. To them, reports of his ineptitude may be the only good news coming out of the White House. As the editorial writer Steve Chapman of theChicago Tribune mused in May: “The people who fear that Trump is trying to subvert democracy, persecute Muslims and dismantle the rule of law can take heart that he won’t put much effort into it.”
Yet in the uncertain autumn days following Trump’s victory, there was budding hope of a “pivot” from the bluster of his campaign to the pragmatism some claimed lay underneath the spray-tanned surface.
Instead, he is playing golf and tweeting anti-CNN wrestling memes. When the weekend concludes, Trump returns to the D.C. swamp with all the enthusiasm of an office lackey slouching toward his cubicle on Monday morning.
In April, Elaine Godfrey of The Atlantic used news reports about Trump’s well-chronicled habits to calculate that he watches about five hours of television daily. That makes him an average American; whether it makes him a sufficiently engaged American president is another matter. He seems to trust Fox & Friends more than the members of the intelligence community who brief him each morning. He certainly finds the former more compelling. “He gets bored and likes to watch TV,” as Politico summarized the insight of one White House insider.
Seemingly aware that he’s being called lazy, Trump described himself in a May 12 tweet as “a very active President with lots of things happening,” which only made him sound like a teenager informing his parents that he’d definitely done his homework. A writer for The Washington Post decided to investigate, using publicly available logs to conclude that Trump’s schedule was “awfully light…. We are left to make one of two assumptions,” the Post concluded. “Trump either is hiding a lot of his presidential business from the public, or he is not doing much at all.” Reuters, in turn, found that in his first 100 days in office, Trump “made fewer appearances outside of the presidential bubble than his three immediate predecessors,” confining himself for the most part to the White House and Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s approach is the approach of Al Bundy. It begins in rage. It ends there, too. Both the president and the shoe salesman are driven by their unreasonable demands and unsoothable grievances to the couch, where they sit in front of the television, stewing.
Read the whole thing at the link above. It’s scathing. So is the cover.