White House Defends Trump's Golf Outings As Business Trips

White House Defends Trump's Golf Outings As Business Trips
Before becoming president, Donald Trump was a vocal critic of then-President Obama's visits to the golf course.

"If I win this, I'm not going to be playing much golf. I'm not going to be playing, believe me," Donald Trump said during a campaign event on Feb. 19, 2016.

Fast-forward 13 months, and now-President Trump has been to the golf course at least 10 times during his first two months in office. 

By our count, there were 30 times between August 2011 and August 2016 that Trump tweeted or retweeted criticisms about then-President Obama golfing.

That doesn't include his comments on television or at campaign events. 

Trump did tweet in 2012, "I don't mind that @BarackObama plays a lot of golf. I just wish he used it productively to make deals with Congress!"

"He regularly used to criticize President Obama for spending time on the course. How is his golf game any different?" Yahoo News correspondent Hunter Walker asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday.

"One is, you saw him utilize this as an opportunity with Prime Minister Abe to help foster deeper relationships in Southeast Asia — in Asia, rather — and have a growing relationship that's going to help U.S. interests," Spicer said.

Spicer also said Trump's visits to golf clubs don't mean he's actually played golf.

"He had a mini Cabinet meeting the other day down — or two weekends ago, down at his club in Virginia. ... So on a couple of occasions, he's actually conducted meetings there; he's actually had phone calls," Spicer said.

But as the reporter who asked the question pointed out, the press isn't being told much about Trump's golf course visits and whether he's playing for business or pleasure.

Spicer said, "It's the same reason that he can have dinner or lunch with somebody and not — because I think the president is entitled to a bit of privacy at some point."

As Politico reported last month, presidents Obama and George W. Bush didn't visit a golf course until they were more than four and five months into their presidencies, respectively.

Most of Trump's golf course visits have taken place while he's spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. 

He has spent five weekends at Mar-a-Lago since taking office. He did host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe there one weekend, and he has held meetings with lawmakers.

According to estimates, his visits to Florida cost taxpayers several million dollars per weekend.