CORRECTS DATE - President Barack Obama smiles as he sits at the wheel of a golf cart while golfing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

EDGARTOWN, MA — The White House pushed back Friday on criticism of President Obama for hitting the links minutes after delivering a powerful statement on the killing of journalist James Foley earlier in the week.

“Generally, I think sports and leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters Friday afternoon, though he declined to to “get into the mindset” of exactly why Obama had decided to go golfing Wednesday.

“Just because he’s in a different location doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job,” said Schultz, and Foley's death had "absolutely captured the president's attention."

The president has played eight rounds of golf during his two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard so far, with the most recent round on Thursday afternoon. He returns to Washington on Sunday.