In total, Trump has spent time at one or more Trump-branded properties on 28 of the days he’s been president — meaning that he visits a property that’s part of his private business empire more than one-third of the days he’s been in office, or once every 2.8 days. The frequency at which he golfs is lower: He’s golfed on 17.9 percent of the days he’s been president, or about once every 5.6 days.
By comparison, Barack Obama golfed once every 8.8 days over the eight years that he was president. And he was excoriated by his political opponents for doing so — including, as is now well-known, by Trump.
Most of the visits Trump has made to Trump-branded properties were to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump this week hosted the president of China, Xi Jinping. He’ll stay at the resort through Sunday, and he may (as he did Saturday) head to Trump International Golf Course in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump’s team is cagey about when he actually plays golf, probably precisely because of the conflict between his words on the campaign trail and his behavior in office.
Update: He headed to the golf course on Sunday, too.
Mar-a-Lago is a members-only facility, with those who pay the steep initiation fee suddenly gaining occasional proximity to the president and, at times, his Cabinet and senior staff. This week, ProPublica reported that the wall that Trump insisted would be built between himself and his business interests is fairly porous, with Trump able to receive money from the Trump Organization as he wishes. The free advertising his properties have received from his visit — his golf club in Virginia, his hotel in downtown Washington — probably help boost those businesses’ bottom lines, and, ultimately, his own.
These trips aren’t free, of course. Each weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers an estimated $2 million. The extended trip this week for the Xi visit certainly cost more, particularly given the added security concerns.
If Trump does play golf Sunday, he will have played once every 5.3 days of his presidency. If he keeps up that pace, he will have golfed 261 times by the end of his first term. (Obama golfed 333 times over his two terms.) Update: With his Sunday outing, Trump is on pace to pass Obama’s in only five years, compared to Obama’s eight.
If he continues to visit Trump properties at his current pace, he will have done so on 524 days of the 1,461 days between his inauguration and Jan. 20, 2021. That’s a lot of free advertising.