On March 27, CNN reports, US president Donald Trump left the White House for a day at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, his 13th trip to one of the numerous golf courses he owns. The implication of the media’s mild obsession with his trips is that Trump is wasting time playing cow pasture pool when he should be attending to the duties of his office.
Former president Barack Obama came in for similar criticism from Republicans — including Donald Trump — over the 333 rounds of golf he played as president according to Golf News Net. That averages 41 outings per year, or one every nine days.
Personally, I don’t see the problem. I wish Obama had played more golf, and I’d be happy to see Trump spend seven days a week on the links.
The opposition ruthlessly criticizes every president’s work — every bill, every executive order, every policy proposal, every public gaffe. The harder the president works, the more they complain.
But then that same opposition cries foul when the president stops doing all that bad and stupid stuff and takes a break to spend time knocking a little white ball around a field, trying to make it roll into a little a hole in the ground.
Make up your minds, folks. If you don’t like the things the president does when he’s working, why complain that he doesn’t work enough?
Speaking of which, many of the critics of presidential time off are members of Congress, who are paid $174,000 per year (more if they are in leadership positions) and get more days off (230 or so) than they work (130 or so). How’s that for standing to critique someone else’s work ethic?
In the meantime, if you’re an average American who gets weekends and federal holidays off and two weeks of vacation, you’re working 240 days a year. About 80 of those work days aren’t for yourself or your family, but to earn the taxes that Congress and the president blow through like drunken sailors, on stuff more expensive and pointless than greens fees.
The question isn’t really whether American politicians should be working more or harder. The question is, how can we get them to work less?
As 19th century jurist Gideon J. Tucker wrote, “no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Or when the president is in residence at the White House. Let the man enjoy his golf.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
- “Presidential golf breaks: Good for America,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Winchester, Tennessee Herald Chronicle, 03/28/17
- “Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America,” by Thomas L. Knapp, CounterPunch, 03/29/17
- “Presidential golf breaks: Good for america,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Greenville, South Carolina Daily Reflector, 03/29/17
- “Daily Mail editorial: Presidential golf good for the US?” by staff, Charleston, West Virginia Gazette-Mail, 03/31/17
- “Keep presidents on (the) course,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Suncoast News [Florida], 04/11/17
Also published on Medium.