Look, it’s not us that made President Trump’s golf-playing an issue. During the administration of Barack Obama, Trump repeatedly criticized his predecessor for the frequency of his golf outings. That extended into the campaign, with Trump disparaging Obama’s work ethic — read into that what you will — by insisting that, as president, he would rarely play his favorite sport.
“I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said at a rally in August 2016. That was true for about two weeks.
By now we barely need to articulate Trump’s affection for the game. Even he at one point admitted that he played so frequently that the sport was his “primary form of exercise.” He plays constantly — or did until October.
His round on Wednesday of this week with golf great Jack Nicklaus was his first in more than a month, the longest stretch he’s gone without playing as president. (The Post’s analysis is based not on visits to golf clubs but on days in which he’s known or likely to have played.) The previous record was in the summer of 2017.
That hiatus overlapped with a series of hurricanes striking the United States. The most recent break? It overlapped with the tail end of the midterm campaign season, when Trump held a series of rallies around the country to bolster Republican Senate candidates. (Results were mixed.)
How little golf has Trump played of late? In October, for only the third time, he played golf as frequently as or less frequently than Obama did in the equivalent month. It was his second-least amount of golf-playing since May 2017 (when he was occupied doing things like firing FBI Director James B. Comey).
You’ll notice in that first chart that there are a slew of gaps of either one day or five. That corresponds to Trump either being on vacation and playing every day or heading to a course for the weekend (as is the case this week). The result is that Trump has been averaging a round of golf about once every five days for most of his presidency. During the recent lull, that figure fell from once every 4.6 days to once every 4.9 days — a more regular pace than Obama saw during his first two years in office.
What’s interesting about that first chart is that there are only two points at which Trump refrained from golf for at least three weeks, periods that, per his August 2016 comment, suggests that they were his busiest. The 2017 period, overlapping with the hurricanes, meant that he was busy visiting storm-damaged areas or meeting with responders. The more recent period saw him hitting the trail each weekend.
In other words, they were, by outside appearances, actually busier than normal. But if refraining from golf is the metric one uses to evaluate busyness — again, not our standard! — Trump’s rarely been as busy as Obama.