President Trump spent seven hours this weekend at Trump International Golf Club here, where a crisp breeze and cloudless skies beckoned golf lovers to the manicured 27-hole course.Did he play any golf? "Very little," Mr. Trump told reporters traveling with him on Sunday on Air Force One back to Washington.... The White House refused to provide any details.... Questions about whether the commander in chief also indulged in his favorite game went unanswered by White House officials traveling with the president.
Donald Trump played golf again over the weekend at his course in Florida, marking the 11th time he's hit the links since taking office eight weeks ago. Under normal circumstances, no one would care about this, since just about every modern president has done the same thing.But with Trump, the circumstances are a little different. A month ago, for example, White House officials gave misleading information about the president's time on the course, and yesterday, as the New York Times noted, Team Trump seemed reluctant to say much of anything on the subject.
We know, however, that Trump did play. One of the president's friends posted a picture online leaving little doubt, and Trump's "very little" comment made clear that the golf outing, which his aides were reluctant to acknowledge, actually happened.As I've noted before, I'm not at all inclined to criticize Trump for wanting to golf, It's a tough job, and presidents should unwind however they want. It's not something the public should get too worked up about.But while I don't care if Trump hits the links, I do care about hypocrisy and secrecy. The fact that the president golfs is less important than the fact that he routinely promised voters before the election that he'd do the opposite.Before taking office, Trump whined about his predecessor’s golfing over and over and over and over and over again. As the Republican put it before his own election, Americans should perceive Obama as lazy and easily distracted because of his preferred form of recreation during his personal downtime.Indeed, Trump said a year ago he’d be a very different kind of president. At an event in New Hampshire in Feb. 2016, while again complaining about Obama golfing, Trump declared that if he were in office, “I’d want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.” Soon after, he assured voters, "I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf."Evidently, Trump has made it a priority to find the time.All of this might be forgivable if Trump and his team were forthcoming about his recreational habits, but they're not. In fact, just the opposite is true: apparently embarrassed, the president and his aides are taking steps to hide the details of what he's up to.It's a little late for Trump and his allies to argue that presidential golf is meaningless trivia, given that Trump himself spent months telling Americans that this was a credible metric for evaluating a president's diligence and productivity.If Trump and his team now believe he was wrong, I'd love to hear them say so.