“Just mention ‘golf’ as many times as possibly” – John Looby
by John Looby
Co-Editor in Chief
You might not spend a lot of time thinking about golf, golfing at a golf course you own, or watching golf at a country club, but then again you’re not the sitting President of the United States. President Donald “President Obama played golf yesterday???” Trump has spent what many are calling an alarming amount of time at golf courses. Each of these trips, of which there have been 12, costs American taxpayers three million dollars. Roughly 36 million dollars has been spent already for our current President to participate in the leisure sport of that kid in high school whose dad’s car costs more than your house.
The current progression of Trump’s expenditures is alarming for several reasons. First, there’s the stunning fact that for almost a third of the days Trump has been President, he has been on Trump owned property. Trump is creating a link between his businesses and the presidency that at the very least raises some ethical quandaries. The Mar-a-Lago has doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 in the wake of Trump becoming president. This, along with those foreign dignitaries who have been opting to stay in Trump owned hotels, would point in the direction that Trump is profiting off of the Presidency and foreign governments might be attempting to use this as a means through which to gain influence over the President.
The President is supposed to divest themselves of business interests. President Carter was forced to give up a peanut farm and yet the current President can bring the Japanese Prime Minister to his country club and then discuss matters of national security in a crowded restaurant. It begs the question of what exactly congress defines as an ethical conflict of interest given the sheer number of hoops Carter was made to jump through over a peanut farm. The infamous stack of documents that Trump used to prove his divestment from his corporate holdings should not have been taken at face value. Especially not in light of the recent statement from Eric Trump that he would be updating his father quarterly about the financial status of the company. It’s as if they just don’t care if they get caught behaving unethically.
Outside of the ethical ramifications of a President possibly profiting off the Presidency while directly in office, there is, of course, the obvious hypocrisy of this entire situation. President Trump has not only a long track record of attacking Obama while he was in office for playing golf but furthermore, Trump himself assured the American public that he would not have time to be playing golf when in office while he was on the campaign train. Maybe we just ban Presidents from golfing and call it a day. Then we wouldn’t have to dig through twitter, tracking politicians being hypocrites as they jump back and forth on each side of the golf issue. In all honesty though, Sean Spicer contorting his mind to fit whatever currently suits him is the least surprising aspect of investigating this issue.
What is the most surprising aspect is the projected cost of Trump’s golfing based on the current going trend. Trump’s golfing could cost the public $120 million a year. Some think that is a low-ball estimate. These golf trips alone could fund the National Endowment for the Arts. If we want to cut something from the budget for being wasteful, personally, I would go with presidential golf trips. President Trump playing golf doesn’t cause a great deal of cultural growth unless, of course, you consider this article a bastion of culture. For a man with, as he would put it, an excellent business record, you would imagine that Trump would know how to effectively prioritize a budget. Trump, however, seems more determined to cut institutions frequently tied to liberal causes.
Trump’s golfing is emblematic of the biggest issue of his administration so far: irresponsibility paired with blatant hypocrisy. The administration is going back on its word left and right while lashing out every which way with condemnable policy after condemnable policy. Wasting money on golf like this is similar to, say, attempting to cut healthcare for the impoverished voter he swore he would not forget while giving tax breaks to wealthy health insurance executives. It goes against his campaign assurances while also misappropriating federal funding. It seems unlikely that the President will change his stances on many of these issues unless he can pin it on Paul Ryan and then throws him under the bus, but that does not mean that there is nothing to be done. Calling your representatives and voicing your concerns is the best way to ensure the democratic process is not left solely in the hands of men who want nothing more than to golf every weekend and binge watch Fox & Friends.