President Donald Trump reached a presidential milestone at his Palm Beach County, Florida, golf club on Saturday: One hundred days in office at a golf club that bears his name.
Trump, once a critic of presidential golfing, has ignored his own advice and made a habit of visiting some of the many golf courses emblazoned in his moniker. The habit is part of the broader trend of the President and first lady making frequent trips to properties owned and operated by the Trump Organization.
According to CNN’s count, Trump has exclusively visited four golf clubs he owns during his presidency: Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida; Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida; Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia; and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Trump has spent 36 days at his Florida club and 40 days at his New Jersey course and made the short trip from the White House to his Virginia club 23 times. He golfed once at his Jupiter course with professional golfers Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon.
In total, Trump has spent nearly 25% of his days in office at one of his golf clubs. It is impossible to know whether Trump golfs every time he visits one of his golf clubs because White House aides rarely confirm that he is golfing, and Trump has, at times, visited his golf clubs to eat a meal or meet with people.
Trump’s golf habit has drawn incredible scrutiny in his first year in office, with watchdog groups raising questions about whether his endorsement of his own properties violates federal law, and reporters standing outside the gates of his courses hoping to confirm that Trump is hitting the links.
Critics have faulted Trump’s repeated trips to his properties, claiming they allow the businessman to boost the bottom line at the Trump Organization and give his properties a presidential stamp of approval. Though Trump transferred his businesses holdings to a trust run by his sons before taking office in 2017, he stopped short of selling off his holdings and still could benefit from money flowing into his properties.
But the primary criticism has stemmed from how Trump, as a private citizen, slammed Barack Obama for hitting the links while president.
“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “Worse than Carter.”
Trump also made presidential golf an issue during the 2016 campaign.
“I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said in August 2016 on the campaign trail.
Norm Eisen, the chief White House ethics lawyer under Obama, called Trump’s 100th day at a golf property as president “an ignominious anniversary.”
“First, there is his hypocrisy in criticizing Obama for golfing and then playing much more himself,” Eisen said. “Then there is the fact that he is using his government platform to promote his businesses.”
Eisen added, “Finally, 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.”
Senior White House aides have failed to fulsomely explain the difference between Obama’s and Trump’s golf games. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer once argued that Trump uses the game to “foster deeper relationships” with foreign leaders.
Though Trump did golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe early in his administration, his golf games regularly feature family, friends and, often, professional golfers.
But Trump has golfed during the majority of his visits to his clubs. All of Trump’s visits to his West Palm Beach, Florida, golf club coincide with his stays at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump has spent part of 58 days at the opulent private estate during his time in office.
But when the weather in South Florida turns muggy and hot over the summer months, Trump has decamped to his golf course in New Jersey, where he stays inside the walls of the club. In total, Trump has spent part of 40 days at the course outside New York City, some of which came during his August “working vacation” when he held meeting with Cabinet officials and called world leaders.