Donald Trump has spent the equivalent of 18 full days golfing since becoming moving into the White House, but when it comes to visiting U.S. troops in combat zones, he has spent comparatively little time doing so.
Trump has come under fire for going through nearly half of his term without visiting troops in combat zones, something that his predecessors had done regularly. But when asked about why he had not yet made a visit to the troops, Trump gave an answer that upset many of his opponents even more.
“I will do that at some point, but I don’t think it’s overly necessary,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview this week. “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here.”
That answer ruffled the feathers of many of Trump’s opponents. The progressive site ShareBlue noted that past presidents often visited war zones, with Barack Obama making a trip to Iraq less than three months into his presidency. Obama also made two surprise visits to Afghanistan in 2010, going to combat zones a total of five times during his eight years in office.
Some left-leaning veterans groups have also criticized Trump for failure to visit troops stationed in the most dangerous areas, including Afghanistan.
The criticism for Donald Trump is even louder given the much greater amount of leisure time he taken compared to any other modern president. Trump has taken near weekly trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida when it is in season, and has gone golfing a total of 149 times according to the website Trump Golf Tracker. A round of golf takes an average of four hours, though Trump is known to play fast and to rely heavily on his golf cart rather than walking. Even at three hours per round, that equates to more than 18 full days spent on the golf course since he first took office.
Many critics say a refusal to visit troops in combat zones shows hypocrisy from Donald Trump. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin said in a Twitter post that even though Trump talks frequently about his love of the military, he has long shown “a lack of physical courage” from his Vietnam draft deferments for bone spurs to his failure to visit deployed troops. Meanwhile, Trump has accused athletes who take a knee during the national anthem of being disrespectful to U.S. troops.
the president who constantly invokes his love of the military has — from his draft deferments over bone spurs to his refusal to visit the troops in combat arenas — consistently revealed a lack of physical courage https://t.co/1MsIue3uDM— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) October 17, 2018
Donald Trump did tell the Associated Press that visiting troops was something he would “do gladly,” but did not reveal whether he has any concrete plans to visit deployed troops in the near future.