Donald Trump celebrated a milestone on Saturday — the 100th day on the golf course of his short presidency.
But critics point out that while Trump has hit the links at a rate of more than twice a week, he still hasn’t made time to make a visit to U.S. troops stationed in combat zones, something nearly all other presidents have done by this point in their presidency.
This weekend’s golf trip for Trump brought some controversy. He has reached 100 golf trips in a little more than 13 months in office, which CNN had noted has him on the pace to triple the number of golf visits made by Barack Obama. Trump had frequently blasted Obama for his golf trips.
Trump’s decision not to visit U.S. troop stationed in combat zones has irked many. Gregg Zoroya, a USA Today contributor and author of the book The Chosen Few: A Company of Paratroopers and Its Heroic Struggle to Survive in the Mountains of Afghanistan, had called out Trump for his failure to follow the example of past presidents and make a visit to troops who are at the greatest risk.
Zoroya noted that such visits are often grueling for presidents, forcing them to endure long flights and hurried schedules, and bring little political payoff. Usually, there is scant media coverage of the visits, which do not allow presidents to prop themselves up with “major policy speeches or rallying oratory.” So the trips are something of a sacrifice for presidents, he noted.
“It’s also a long way to travel with living conditions far less accommodating than the White House or a luxury Florida resort like Trump’s Mar-a-Lago,” he wrote.
But as Donald Trump has often portrayed himself as a defender of U.S. troops, he has never left the comforts of his luxury resort to make a trip to these troops, Zoroya pointed out.
“Trump has fostered an image as an advocate for troops and veterans, though not without some controversy. When he criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, he characterized the gesture as disparaging those ‘fighting for our country,’ even though players said their actions were about systemic racism and law enforcement behavior.”
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been criticized for his treatment of U.S. troops. Last year, he was criticized for authorizing an ill-fated raid in Yemen that left a Navy commando and several civilians — including children — dead, NBC News noted. Trump was also blasted for his treatment of the family of slain soldier La David Johnson, with Trump reportedly telling the service member’s mother and widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.”
Donald Trump has delivered some messages to U.S. troops, Zoroya noted. Last year, he sent a Thanksgiving video message to troops serving in Afghanistan. Trump filmed the video during a visit to his Mar-a-Lago resort.