Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017--"Fore!"

Talk about alternative facts.

This time we're talking about golf but not about a situation where someone cheats on the course or about his score. Like what Bill Clinton used to do while duffing--assuming that because he was Commander in Chief, the most powerful man in the world, he could give himself Mulligans. For the non- aficionados, a Mulligan is a no-penalty extra shot after hitting one into the rough or lake. Some thought this was a metaphor about Clinton's character.

No, we're talking now about whether or not Donald Trump played any golf at all while weekending recently at Mar-a-Lago.

White House records show he spent seven hours at his own course, the Trump International Golf Club, but his spokespeople claimed he wasn't there to play. On the way back to Washington on Sunday, on Air Force One, when asked about his golf game, Trump fibbed, claiming that he played "very little."

This golf business is a very delicate matter.

Trump on the stump during the campaign frequently mocked Barak Obama's golfing, claiming that he was always on the golf course and off the case while America was going down the drain. Thus the need to make America Great Again.

Two months into his own presidency, with America in reality going down the drain, one can only imagine how much effort is being expended to obscure the truth about Trump's recreating. Especially  his golfing.

Though Barack Obama may have been obsessed with golf and took every opportunity to get in a round, his people never hid the fact that he was on the course and not at meetings. Most times they even told reporters who he was playing with.

Not Trump. Not only don't we know who was in his foursome but we don't know for certain if he played even though he was spotted at his club dressed in golf attire and wearing a golf glove. When pressed about his golfing he points out that he is not just having fun on the links but working while hitting slices into the woods. Like when he played a round with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But talking about golf makes him uneasy because of how he savaged Obama for his golfing.

"I'm going to be working for you," he said last year at a rally in Virginia, "I'm not going to have time to go play golf."

But he is clearly making time for golf. As of March 25th, according to Golf News Net, he has already played 12 rounds while during the first two months of his presidency Obama played exactly zero times.

The presidency is an extraordinarily stressful job even for someone like Donald Trump who doesn't appear to be fully engaged. Even he deserves and needs some down time. Fair enough.

But there are other issues regarding his frequent trips to Palm Beach--for example, how much his weekending in Florida costs taxpayers.

It is estimated that each visit to Mar-a-Lago costs us $3.0 million. For Air Force One; the lodging, care, and feeding of Secret Service agents; reimbursements for Palm Beach police and first responders; and all the incidentals associated with a president out of the pocket and on the move.

Having already made five trips to Mar-a-Lago, this means he has run up $15 million in costs. His burn rate is such that he recently requested an additional $60 million to cover expenses projected for the rest of the fiscal year. This would offset the cost of his wife and son remaining behind in New York City (who can blame them), security for his globetrotting sons, and frequent getaways to Florida.

The Office of Management and Budget turned him down since they are in the middle of gutting programs including Meals On Wheels and are concerned about the appearance of a double standard--one for billionaire Trump, another for the rest of us.

On the other hand, after the clamor about his opulent lifestyle abates, expect to see the double standard at work.

Trump In the Rough

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