It shouldn’t matter where or how often a president goes on vacation. They can work from anywhere, as well evidenced by Bill Clinton in the summer of ’98, when he took time on Martha’s Vineyard to order retaliatory attacks on al Qaeda for its terrorist bombings of two U.S. embassies.
Barack Obama spent lots of time golfing. George W. Bush spent lots of time on his Texas ranch. His dad spent lots of time in Kennebunkport. Ronald Reagan spent lots of time at his California ranch and vacationed in Barbados at the home of a Hollywood actress. Hey, whatever. Those guys all needed a break, assuming they ever really got one.
So the vacation “issue” is totally phony — except when the president happens to be a flaming hypocrite. Indeed, if hypocrisy was a felony, Trump would be in leg irons.
Back in the days when Trump was truly in his element — taking loans from Russian oligarchs and barging in on half-dressed beauty queens — he tweeted his outrage dozens of times about Obama’s hobby. In August 2011, for instance: “Barack Obama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic.” In December 2013: “Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!” In October 2014: “Can you believe that with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.”
Well. There was no way Trump would ever do anything like that.
One month into his candidacy, in July 2015 — and please don’t puke your coffee while reading this — he solemnly promised: “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president who takes time off.”
And this, from a Trump gig on “60 Minutes”: “There’s just so much to be done, so I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations.”
And get this, from August 2016: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
It was hilarious, on Bill Maher’s show Friday night, to hear religious-right leader Ralph Reed praise Trump as a man of honor who “keeps his word.” Reed pointed out that Trump had kept his word on naming a conservative to the Supreme Court — which is all Reed cares about, because he had nothing else to say about a guy whose veracity is nil and whose word has the value of soiled tissue.
The golf thing is Exhibit A. The golf thing matters only because Trump pledged not to golf like Obama did.
The latest stats: From January to August 2009, Obama’s first seven months in office, he spent all or part of 15 days at leisure. From January to August 2017, Trump’s first seven months in office, he spent all or part of 53 days at leisure. Obama, in his first seven months, played 17 rounds of golf. Trump, in his first seven months, played 33 — and that doesn’t include his current 17-day stay at a favorite golf resort.
The hypocrite is a tad sensitive about all this. He tweeted the other day, and again this morning, that his golf sojourn is actually “a working vacation” — and I suppose that’s true, if we accept the fact that his definition of working is tweeting. A rainy morning has kept him off the links, and so, swinging wildly in the sand trap of his mind, he’s been working hard to hurl fresh insults at whoever, using words like baby, child, con artist, defrauded, failing, fake, inept, lied, phony. So much for chief of staff John Kelly’s bid to curb the tweeting.
(And even though he’s vacationing at a clip unmatched by Obama, the destructive work of Trump regime goes on; case in point, its relentless crusade to make coal the de facto national religion — at a time when even red states like Wyoming are enjoying a job boom from wind power.)
But Trump will be hauling himself into his golf cart soon enough, so my real question is: How come Trump’s old allies on the Republican right — the party hacks and media megaphones who routinely attacked Barack Obama for playing golf — are so conspicuously mum about Trump’s flagrant breach of promise and his incurable addiction to tee time? If it’s apparently fine to play lots of golf, why did Trump and the other loudmouths target Obama?
Maybe they wanted to conjur the image of an uppity black…or a lazy black…
Naw, that’s not possible.