Donald Trump has officially spent 100 days of his presidency, that is approximately 25% of the time he's been in office, at one of his golf clubs. Whether he is actually golfing each time isn't clear.
If you are wondering why this even matters: In the 400 or so days that he has been president, we have been conditioned to believe that unless we are at risk of nuclear war, it is not that bad. So something as seemingly innocuous could easily go unnoticed. For Trump, the golf trips have at their heart two key issues: hypocrisy and ethics.
"First, there is his hypocrisy in criticizing Obama for golfing and then playing much more himself," said Norm Eisen, the chief White House ethics lawyer under Obama, to CNN. "Then there is the fact that he is using his government platform to promote his businesses."
In August 2014, Trump had some choice words for Obama who, while on vacation went golfing shortly after delivering a statement about the death of American journalist James Foley. "Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf," he tweeted.
The subject of golf came up once again while on the campaign trail in 2016. "I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf," promised Trump. Trump is a man of many contradictions; saying one thing and doing another is par for the course, pun intended. What makes it complicated is how his golf habits boost the bottom line of his own companies, in which he still has a financial interest.
Before taking office, Trump transferred his business holdings to a trust run by his sons; however, he did not sell off his holdings which means he could still be benefiting from the cash flow to his properties. Some watchdog groups question whether his endorsement of his own properties violates federal law. According to President Trump's 2017 financial disclosure released by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in June 2017, he made $37 million from his Palm Beach, FL resort, Mar-a-Lago, from January 2016 through April 2017. At the time, the president has visited Mar-a-Lago 25 times since taking office. Forms for 2015 and 2016 show a profit of $16 million and $30 million respectively. It begs the question, if you can profit from being president, whose interests are you going to act in, your own or the American people?
When speaking to CNN Eisen added, "He is also mingling with representatives of corporate interests who are paying to play, and not just golf. Because they have business before the federal government, that creates more conflicts. Trump has hit an unprecedented ethics bogey."