In fact, he needs little encouragement. Trump has played his 16th round of golf
since becoming President. For this we might be grateful, were it not for two complaints: cost and shameless hypocrisy.
There's good reason to defend the role of golf in US politics. It's the presidential game. The sport is kind on the bones of older, powerful men; it's a chance to mix gentle leisure with one-on-one diplomacy. And the symbolism of a man or a woman whacking a ball across a luxurious green is 100% American: individualism, abundance, good humor.
Golf can define a political personality. Dwight Eisenhower's obsession with it -- he played over 800 rounds in office
-- told his critics that he was lazy but his fans that he was relaxed and in control. Barack Obama was highly competitive.
Richard Nixon allegedly cheated
It can even expose flaws in policy. For a lot of folks my age, the recklessness and stupidity of neoconservatism was summed up in 2002 by George W. Bush
briefing reporters on the war on terror in his golf clothes. "Now watch this drive," he said, and sent his reputation into the long grass. For while golf is undoubtedly a sport of champions, it's also a sport for loafers. Which brings us to Donald Trump.
Sixteen rounds of golf in just over eleven weeks? The price tag is what truly shocks. Trump's trips to the Mar-a-Lago resort that he owns in Florida are thought to have cost
US taxpayers over $20 million. If Trump continues, he will have outspent Obama's entire eight years within 12 months.
It's made worse by the insistence that wife Melania and son Barron remain in New York. The security bill is absurdly high: the New York Police Department puts the expense at between $127,000 and $146,000 a day.
Then there's the naked hypocrisy to contend with. As a private citizen
, Trump routinely called Obama lazy. In 2014, he tweeted: "Can you believe that, with all the problems and difficulties facing the US, President Obama spent the day playing golf." On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump said that he doubted
he would ever see his own golf resorts again. "I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off."
Of course, we're used to this now. Trump has so often said one thing and done another that we've grown accustomed to treating his rhetoric as ambient sound. What really matters, we tell ourselves, is the deeper meaning that his words don't precisely say: he will work harder for the American people, he will get things done.
But he doesn't and he hasn't -- yet -- and the time will surely come when even the diehard supporters notice that at the same time as the Republican Party wants to cut programs on the pretext of saving money,
it appears fine with bankrolling the President's downtime to a sum that would make Nero blush. This is not conservatism, gentlemen and gentlewomen. It is self-indulgence.
Republicans might say they hate big government, but it's remarkable how much they enjoy its perks.