So, no More Golf for POTUS?

Forget the imperial presidency. Welcome to the indolent presidency.

donald-trump-hatI happened to hear the following during Monday’s press briefing by Sean Spicer:

As the Vice President said on Saturday, President Trump will never stop fighting for those families who are facing impossible choices every day as their premiums and deductibles continue to skyrocket.  He won’t rest until we have fixed this.

Upon hearing the bolded sentence, all I could think of was:  does this mean no more golfing trips to various Trump courses nearly every weekend?*  How about less time watching cable TV or going on twitter-rants?

Now, on the one hand, I recognize that is a snarky answer.  (And, further, I do not object to a president playing golf–although one has to admit this particular president plays a remarkable amount).* At a minimum, from the outside, Mr. Trump does not exactly project an imagine of tireless work to solve America’s problems, despite his constant declarations of success.

On the other hand, however, this is a truly maddening statement insofar as it is a blatant untruth and is representative of the irresponsible nature of this administration.  There is no discernible evidence of effort by the President or his staff that actual work is being done on this issue, let alone the type that would indicate he is tirelessly engaged on the subject.  It is disheartening that many of his supporters cannot see this.

While I am not surprised by it, I can’t help but be constantly struck by this kind of thing. Further, it is evidence to support the general indolence of this president (to go along with irresponsibility, incompetence and ignorance).** I suppose that the statement by Spicer is the kind of vacuous platitude one expects from any press secretary, but in the past it would have least meant that it was likely that real attention was being given to a subject.  It is clear, however, that this is not the case in the current administration.   First, the administration did not come to office with even the hint of an actual plan for health care, just vague rhetoric.  Second, when the House finally passed a plan, the White House celebrated like it had won some major victory (back to the “ignorance” part).  Third, however, just this week the President reportedly criticized the plan (a dash of incompetence?  another illustration of ignorance?).

It is as if he not only isn’t not working tirelessly, but not working at all on the subject (and wouldn’t even know how to do so in any event).  Granted, one may be quite glad that little actual work is being done on this subject by this White House.  Still, it is an illustration of the fact that we elected someone wholly unfit for the job, and this is just one more reminder.

I will conclude by noting that indolence is preferable to energy in many ways–although the fact that some many key positions in the federal government remain unfilled (and not because of lack of confirmation, but because of lack of nomination) is problematic, to say the least.  See this database via WaPo for details.   At a minimum, it might behoove the president to work a few weekends instead of golfing to work through those lists of nominations (and that is not snark–I am quite serious about that).

One thing is for certain:  Jared Kushner can’t do all those jobs.***

*”Since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017, Mr. Trump has reportedly been on the grounds of his golf courses 24 times since becoming President, and that’s as of June 10. He previously was on pace to visit his golf clubs more than 650 times in an eight-year presidency. He’s currently on track to play 387 rounds in office over eight years, assuming he wins re-election and completes both terms.” (Source).

**I keep coming back in my own mind to these four I’s:  irresponsibility, indolence, incompetence, and ignorance–this bit of alliteration captures a remarkable amount about this president.  One could also add a fifth, after a fashion: an imaginary legislative agenda (because I don’t actually see much in the way of any substance on health care, taxes, etc., despite bravado on these subjects from Mr. Trump).

***Since I started with snark, I guess I might as well end with some.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    I don’t think Trump understands–or has ever understood–what work is, period. He probably believes that watching cable tv all day waiting for mentions of himself and going on Twitter rampages is doing something constructive,

  2. Pch101 says:

    The right wing objected to Obama’s time spent on the golf course because he wasn’t just a caddy. (So uppity.)

  3. Tony W says:
  4. Gustopher says:

    When rich white men golf, they are working. This is how deals get done.

  5. Facebones says:

    @Tony W: There’s always an appropriate Trump tweet.

    It’s just further proof that he never expected to win. Along with all the statements from him and his family about how the Russia thing is just a smokescreen because the Democrats “should’ve” won. Not they expected to win, the Dems SHOULD’VE won. No other president would say that. Even W would’ve just chuckled and said they’re mad they lost.

  6. Tony W says:

    @Facebones: Totally agree. The Republicans control Congress because the rest of the country thought Trump would lose so we’d have a divided government and somebody to keep President Hillary Clinton in check.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tony W: I have seen more than one comment on a friend’s Facebook post from one of their Trumpster friends or relatives that is blaming the slow pace of whatever (Obamacare repeal, tax reform, etc.) on Democratic obstruction in Congress. Without irony. Their party controls *everything* and they are still finding ways to blame their problems on Democrats.

    It’s insane.

  8. Pete S says:

    I saw a tweet from (I think) Bill Kristol, suggesting basically that we do not get too upset about Trump golfing since while he is there he cannot be screwing up other things too badly. Oddly perceptive of him

  9. @Gromitt Gunn: The whole “Democrati obstruction” thing comes from Trump himself. It is remarkable. Sure, there is the potential for obstruction of some legislation in the Senate, but not the health care bill. And, it is wholly impossible to blame the Democrats for the large of production of major legislation by the House.

    @Pete S: There is that, to be sure.

  10. Jen says:

    Slightly off topic, but the WaPo is reporting that the Special Counsel’s investigation has expanded and now includes possible obstruction of justice charges for Trump. Also, the article contains this gem:

    Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

    So, we can dispense with the GOP talking point about Trump not being under investigation. Because *he* changed that when he fired Comey. Trump is a walking, talking, threat to his own presidency.

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve said it before: Trump doesn’t want to be President. By that, I don’t necessarily mean he wants out of the White House. I mean that he doesn’t want to be an *actual* President. He wants to give speeches and hobnob with rich people and get adulation. But he doesn’t want to do the hard work of crafting legislation, putting together coalitions, listening to opposing sides, finding compromises and any of the other things that go into getting things done. For all my criticism of Obama (and Bush and Clinton), they worked their backsides off when they wanted to get things done. Trump … doesn’t.

  12. Janis Gore says:

    @Facebones: Ted Frank pinned “It’s like Trump insulted an old gypsy woman who cursed him to live out his tweets.”

  13. michael reynolds says:

    He’s got a file open on him now. I wonder if he realizes the meat grinder that’s coming for him?

  14. DrDaveT says:

    I will conclude by noting that indolence is preferable to energy in many ways

    As I’ve tried to explain to some of my colleagues, leadership is a vector. It has both magnitude and direction. You can have effective leaders for good, or for evil — high magnitude, different directions.

    Trump’s ‘leadership’ is diffused over a wide range of directions, with little magnitude in any of them. If leadership is like a shove in the back, Trump is like a temblor that rattles the china but doesn’t actually move anything anywhere.

    So far, at least. Thank God.

  15. Moosebreath says:

    OT, but this is a great example of how Trump does not want to be perceived:

    “The Australian Prime Minister mocked his US counterpart in a speech Wednesday night to a gathered crowd of journalists and politicians, during the Australian Parliament’s boozy annual Midwinter Ball.

    In leaked audio aired by Australia’s Channel Nine, Turnbull poked fun at his own efforts to ingratiate himself with the new US President during their meeting in New York.”