President Donald Trump loves to golf. And he really loves to spend your money in order to accommodate his appetite for the links.
Similar–though slightly reduced–fountains of public spending occurred in both 2018 and 2019 as Trump’s publicly-subsidized golf outings totaled over $118 million by the end of the present year.
The topline number is a HuffPost analysis based on Secret Service spending reports. The aforementioned presidential golf-tracker estimates that Trump’s golfing habit has cost taxpayers in the ballpark of $115 million. Either number substantially dwarfs the total amount of money spent by former president Barack Obama–who was also frequently criticized for his own 18-holed peccadillo.
According to conservative-leaning government transparency organization Judicial Watch, Obama’s total family travel expenses–including all his time spent on the golf course–came out to some $114 million total. A great deal of that travel, however, was eventually reimbursed by the Democratic Party. Conservatives frequently went after the 44th president over his fondness for the nine iron.
Trump, of course, was famously one of those critics.
“I love golf,” then-candidate Trump told a Florida crowd in 2016, “but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t ever think I’d see Doral again. I own Doral in Miami. I don’t think I’d ever see many of the places that I have. I don’t really ever think I’d see anything–I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off and make great deals.”
Trump’s faux disdain for presidential golfing was a frequent theme during his presidential campaign. In 2015, he told a Michigan crowd about Obama’s 250th round of golf which had recently been reported on at the time. Feigning outrage with the tone of his voice, Trump said: “Obama, it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf and he’s going to be in Hawaii, I think did they say for three weeks? For three weeks. I don’t have time for that. I love golf, I think it’s one of the greats but I do not have time.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) researcher Robert Maguire pounced on that soundbite Friday–pointing out that Trump’s recent holiday vacation–again at taxpayer expense–accounted for the 251st round of golf played by the president.
In Dec 2015, candidate Trump criticized Obama, who had been president for 7yrs, saying Obama had “played 250 rounds of golf”
Today, Trump is making his 251st taxpayer-funded visit to one of the golf resorts he still profits from and said he wouldn’t visit if elected. pic.twitter.com/qB1CwDASCE
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) December 27, 2019
After spending four hours at the Trump International Golf Club, the president has returned to Mar-a-Lago. When he talks about how no president has worked harder than he has, he's apparently talking about his other job.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) December 26, 2019
And, according to HuffPost reporter S.V. Daté, Trump has spent at least “232 days on a golf course he owns in his 1,072 days in office.” That’s nearly one-fifth of Trump’s entire presidency thus far.
That’s also an awful lot of the Americam public’s funds spent on a game that originated in Scotland–and much of those many millions actually made their way directly into the president’s own pockets. How? Because of Trump’s choice of golf courses.
As Law&Crime previously reported, most of the president’s trips to the track–as well as the great majority of such golf-related spending–took place at various Trump National Golf Clubs owned by the Trump family. The HuffPost also notes that these numbers are swelled even further due to the fact that the White House mandates that “Secret Service agents, White House staff and other administration officials stay and eat at [Trump’s] hotels and golf courses” during such travel.
“The domestic #EmolumentsClause was written to prevent the president from shaking down the US government,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh tweeted in late November in references to then-released Secret Service spending reports which detailed just some of the golf-related expenses picked up by the public.
“$28,800 in one day for the Secret Service is stunning, greedy, arrogant and violative of the Constitution,” Frosh added.
[image via Leon Neal/Getty Images]