President Obama is under fire from the press in the past 24 hours.
White house correspondents fielded a flood of questions as the President headed to Palm Springs to golf during a record-breaking drought and in the wake of the Charleston South Carolina shooting that left nine people dead and a young man in custody for murder.
White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz handled many different questions from reporters on Thursday evening as President Obama headed to California. Question topics ranged from Wednesday night’s church slaughter in South Carolina to free trade, the Pope’s recently released manifesto about the destruction of the earth and her resources, and golf in the Coachella Valley, which is literally dying from drought. Schultz was asked the uncomfortable question about whether it was appropriate for President Obama to be golfing in the drought-stricken area at an exclusive resort that is reportedly not conserving resources. Schultz handled the question with non-specifics that were spoken eloquently.
“This administration’s commitment to helping those affected by the drought is second to none. I know that many courses have taken water mitigation steps aimed at water conservation.”
That’s partially true. But unfortunately, golf courses still account for one quarter of the groundwater that is pumped from the aquifer in the Coachella Valley, which is nearly arid at this point in time. Heavy pumping over the years has contributed to deficits in water levels in much of the area. Some critics have called for the area’s 122 golf courses to begin conservation by removing grass and cutting back on water usage, but that’s not happening. In fact, The two private golf courses where President Obama has played golf during past vacation visits, the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and Porcupine Creek, use groundwater to maintain their grass irrigation – something unfathomable to most of the people of Coachella Valley.
The White House hasn’t confirmed the president’s golfing plans during this visit to the desert, so it’s unclear where he’ll play or if he will play at all, but it is not the first time he’s come under fire for golfing in areas that are drought-stricken, the most recent last year.
The White House has not responded yet to a request for comment about Schultz’s statements on Air Force One. After the plane touched down safely in Los Angeles, Obama appeared at two private events, one in the Pacific Palisades and another in the Hollywood Hills. This is his fifth trip to the area in two years.
Many question his decision to golf in the midst of the national tragedy in Charleston as well, especially after the clear commentary he made regarding lack of gun-control in the country. Some commenters wonder if he believes that to be true, why is he golfing as a city mourns and lays nine innocent people to rest?
Readers, what are your thoughts?
[photo by cnbc]