I know we are in the middle of winter, but I didn't want to let this issue escape my scrutiny. Besides, it is sunny in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Remember during the presidential campaign of 2016 how often candidate Trump complained about how many times his predecessor took time off to play golf? Quite a bit as I recall. I also recall quite vividly candidate Trump promising not to play golf if elected because there is so much to do there won't be enough time to play golf.
He stated over and over again how he will be working, not playing. How he would “stay in the White House and work his ass off.” He accused his predecessor of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods, than the players on the PGA tour. Quite a difference between promises made during a campaign and the reality after election. Especially when it comes to golf and the presidency and Donald J. Trump!
Now for some of that post-election reality as it relates to golf and vacation days as a whole. Reality: Donald J. Trump during his first year in office took five times more vacation days than his predecessor Barack H. Obama.
Yes, you heard it. Five times more vacation days.
Our president, who railed against his predecessor for taking too much time off and not doing his job, spent during his own first year almost one-third of his days on vacation mostly at his own golf facilities playing golf. That's about 120 or so days of vacation, close to 100 of which were spent at his own golf properties, during his first year in office.
Spreading division among Americans and ignoring the Constitution can be exhausting, I guess.
In contrast, President Barack Obama took 26 days of vacation during his first year in office. It doesn't, of course, stop with Obama. The Republican icon Ronald Reagan took 42 vacation days his first year in office, George H.W. Bush took 40 days, and his son George W. Bush, known as a bit of a partygoer, took 69 days of vacation his first year in office. Granted, Republicans do need a bit more time off to strategize about how best to fill the pockets of the wealthiest one percent on the backs of the middle class.
This becomes evident when looking at recent Democrat presidents. In addition to Obama taking only 26 days of vacation his first year in office, Bill Clinton took only 21 days his first year and Jimmy Carter, maybe the record holder, took only 19 days off his first year in office.
Granted, time at work does not necessarily translate to doing an effective job. That goes for any line of work. BUT, in the case of Trump, because of his historic lack of experience for the job of president, spending time on the job should be of the utmost importance.
In the case of Trump, his dedication to his golf game is reflective of his lack of dedication and outright laziness that he demonstrated throughout his campaign and presidency regarding requisite preparation whether it be debate preparation, of which there was little to none, or familiarization with the policy documents he so readily signs his name to. It is also indicative of a good deal of hypocrisy since, as you will also recall, Trump made a major issue of the STAM-in-A of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, during the presidential campaign.
It doesn't stop here, sadly. There is also a cost, a cost to you and me as taxpayers for his need to golf.
The Trump golf trips for this past year cost American taxpayers approximately $100 million. He may donate his salary to various causes but that amount of money pales in comparison to what his vacations to his own golf resorts are costing taxpayers. $100 million is enough for Meals on Wheels to feed close to 40 thousand seniors for an entire year. It could also feed some 635,000 impoverished children through afterschool programs for an entire year.
As always, governing is less about how much money to collect from its citizens as it is about how to use the money collected in the best interests of its citizens.
At a time when the Trump/Republican tax plan that gives upwards of 83 percent of the tax benefits to the top one percent of wealthy Americans and, in so doing, blows a hole in the deficit of somewhere between $1.5 and $2.2 trillion, spending cuts will be at the forefront of the Republican Congress and earned benefits such as Social Security and Medicare will be the number one targets of budget cuts.
Maybe government waste is a better place to start and maybe a cap on Trump golf outings would serve as the perfect example.