Donald Trump promised he would not be big on vacations - but he holidays more than his predecessor
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Being leader of the free world is, by no means, an easy job. It is high pressure, you are constantly on duty, and the scrutiny is immense. The President of the United States, like most hard-working people, deserves a holiday; a bit of R&R may be exactly what the doctor ordered for any president, beleaguered administration or otherwise.
The only problem is, Donald Trump has been in the job for just over half a year, and he has spent a great deal of time away from the White House enjoying a break. His presidential term lasts four years, potentially eight years if he runs again in 2020 and wins. Having only been in office since the end of January, Trump has been holidaying considerably more than his predecessors.
In the first 100 days of his administration, a milestone to measure presidential effectiveness, the President spent 19 days at the 'Winter White House', Mar-a-Lago, teeing off at the golf course. Previous presidents have enjoyed a round of golf, but they have attracted criticism for spending more time on the green than in office - namely from Donald Trump.
He was extremely critical of Barack Obama, tweeting 26 times about his predecessor's golfing and remarking he plays "more golf than players in the PGA tour". Trump must be in training for the professional game after he leaves office, as he has spent more days on the course than the past three US presidents combined.
The President is currently taking a 17-day "working holiday" at his golf club in New Jersey. With his trips to the Mar-a-Lago included, President Trump will have spent three times as many days away at leisure compared to President Obama. His New Jersey trip will be twice as long as Obama's holiday to Martha's Vineyard in 2011, which the former businessman sarcastically called a "nice work ethic" on Twitter. Obama had a higher work ethic at the same point in his presidency as Trump, taking 15 days as leisure by the end of August 2009, compared to Trump's 53 days away, the Washington Post reports. This was a man who promised he was going to have much time to play golf, and that he will not "be very big on vacations".
Furthermore, the price tag of his weekend jaunts this year alone are estimated to outpace President Obama's entire eight-year travel budget, according to GQ. They accuse Trump of being the "laziest president in American history".
Dean Obeidallah, writing for CNN, jokingly argues that we should be happy that Trump is taking a holiday, because his absence is offering Americans a holiday from the President. Typically, he observes, presidents visibly age while in office (see Lincoln), but the current White House incumbent is doing a reverse-Lincoln: he is aging all of us, and a Trump-cation across 17 days may be healthier for Americans.
The President, however, has defended his 17-day visit to New Jersey, and has insisted he is not on holiday. He cited the "long planned construction" at the White House for the change of scenery, and said he will still be taking meetings and calls. He has been spotted on the golf course during his stay.
With the White House in chaos, and not just with construction, Donald Trump could welcome the break that he said is not a break. If anything, it could offer Americans a reprieve from the President.