Abraham Lincoln said “Four-score and seven years ago.”
But Donald Trump is more likely to say “Fore!”
The White House on Monday defended President Trump’s frequent golf-playing and trips to golf courses by suggesting that Trump — who previously had blasted President Barack Obama for his own golf habit — is getting actual presidential business done on the links instead of just working on his short game.
But White House spokesman Sean Spicer also said Trump’s right to “privacy” is one reason that the Trump administration hasn’t trumpeted the outcomes of his meetings on golf courses.
Trump has played golf at least 10 times since becoming president in late January, despite the fact that he teed off several times at his immediate predecessor Obama for indulging that very same hobby while in office.
“He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods,” Trump said of Obama in December after being elected president.
“We don’t have time for this. We have to work,” Trump said at that time.
And, at an August campaign event, Trump said: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
Spicer was asked Monday at a White House press conference how Trump’s golf playing is “any different,” from Obama’s.
The press secretary then took a shot — several shots — at answering. But he landed a bit off the fairway.
“Well, I think, two things,” Spicer said. “One is, you saw him utilize this as an opportunity with [Japanese] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe to help foster deeper relationship… in Asia… and have a growing relationship that is going to help U.S. interests.”
That was a reference to Trump playing golf at one of his courses in Florida with the Japanese leader last month.
“How you use the game of golf is something that he’s talked about,” Spicer said of the president.
“Secondly… he had a mini-cabinet meeting the other day, or two weekends ago, down at his club in Virginia,” said Spicer, referring to Trump’s course in Sterling, Virginia.
“And, I remember, so many people jumping to the conclusion that he was going down, playing golf,” Spicer said of Trump’s visit to that club where golf is indeed often played by visitors.
“Just because you go somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you did it.”
Spicer added that on “a couple of occasions” that Trump has gone to that Virginia course, “he’s conducted meetings there, has actually had phone calls.”
“So just because he heads there, doesn’t mean that that’s what’s happening,” Spicer said.
The reporter then followed up, pointing out to Spicer that “we’re not getting a lot of details” about the “high-level meetings that are taking place” on the golf courses.
“If he is having these productive meetings on the course, why isn’t the president and his aides… more forthcoming” about the results of those sessions?” the reporter asked.
Spicer said, “The president is entitled to a bit of privacy at some point.”