White House said Donald Trump was in meetings, but he was pictured golfing (again)

Rachel Roberts
Donald Trump was pictured on the golf course at a Trump-branded hotel in Virginia where the White House said he would be in meetings: Getty Images

President Donald Trump was pictured playing a round of golf at one of his own properties when journalists were led to believe he was in meetings.

The President enjoyed what is thought to be his thirteenth golfing session since taking office just nine weeks ago while the press pack who shadow him was told he was attending meetings at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

Several social media posts from employees at the golf club revealed his whereabouts included at least a short spell on the green as he spent his eighth consecutive weekend at a Trump-branded property.

Mr Trump repeatedly criticised his predecessor Barack Obama for taking to the golf course to relax during his time in office.

During a campaign rally last year, Mr Trump referred to his golf courses when he criticised Mr Obama.

“You know what – and I love golf – but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again, I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again, I own Doral in Miami, I don’t think I’d ever see many of the places that I have, I don’t ever think that I’d see anything, I just wanna stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Whose gonna leave? I mean, whose gonna leave?”

He also took to twitter to say: “@BarackObama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic.”

The White House press office, whose job includes keeping the media informed of the President’s diary, did not comment on this latest golf trip. It has only confirmed that Mr Trump has played golf on a few occasions when he has stayed at a Trump-branded property.

The President has visited his own-branded properties approximately once every three days during the course of his presidency so far, according to The Washington Post.

Mr Obama is not believed to have played his first round of golf until his 65th day in the White House.

Some have complained that Mr Trump’s golf trips are a waste of tax payers’ money, with each trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida estimated to cost the US Government around $2 million, mainly for the cost of transportation.

Members of his team have defended his right to relax, including former campaign spokesman Jason Miller, who said on Twitter: “@POTUS wasn’t elected to solitary confinement. If he wants to do off-campus meetings or knock out 18 on the weekend, good for him.”

And while many articles have been written criticising the President for playing golf, one in Golf Digest defended his choice of recreational activity, saying the 70-year-old President doesn’t take any other form of exercise.

“Given the strains of the job, a workout routine is important for presidents. Like 50 per cent of Americans, Trump doesn't exercise. At 70 years old, it's especially vital the 45th POTUS gets some type of physical activity, making golf the perfect conduit to fill this need.”

Many presidents besides Obama and Trump have enjoyed playing the sport poet Dylan Thomas memorably described as “a good walk spoilt”.

Presidents Clinton, Kennedy, Ford, Raegen, Nixon and both Bushes were among the long list of Presidents who enjoyed the sport, while President Eisenhower saw golf as a way to improve international relations.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Mr Trump in a recent press conference when he was asked how his golfing was "any different" from Mr Obama's.

He claimed that on "a couple of occasions" when Mr Trump has gone to his 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," Mr Spicer said.

Asked why he wasn't "more forthcoming" about these meetings if they were legitimate, Mr Spicer said, "The President is entitled to a bit of privacy at some point."

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