A new book set to be released next week by an acclaimed sportswriter explores Donald Trump’s behavior on the golf course, and contains a strange anecdote about a recent incident in which Trump attempted to blame his loyal caddy, a former U.S. Marine, for a golf bag accident, according to a Newsweek account.
The book authored by 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year award winner Rick Reilly is set to be published on April 2, but Politico featured a lengthy excerpt from the book — titled Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump — on Thursday. The excerpt focused on Trump’s “60-something” year-old caddy, identified only as “A.J.,” who is portrayed as so fiercely loyal to Trump that he will “put you in a chokehold if you criticize his boss,” according to Reilly’s account.
Reilly also profiles Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, who first met Trump in 1990, when Scavino was a 16-year-old golf caddy at Briar Hall Golf and Country Club in New York, which later became known as Trump Westchester.
According to Reilly, A.J. is so admiring of Trump that he describes Trump as possessing “Einstein’s brain, Lincoln’s wit and Nightingale’s heart.” Reilly writes that in tagging along with A.J. for 18 holes on a golf course, the caddy never spoke a word about Trump that was not one of praise.
But even with A.J.’s unyielding loyalty, Trump is capable of turning on his caddy, according to one scene described by Reilly.
“One time, after a bad drive, Trump slammed his driver back in his bag, as guys will do, and wasn’t really watching what he was doing, and the driver ricocheted back and hit Trump in the head,” Reilly described. An enraged Trump immediately blamed the ultra-loyal caddy for hitting him in the head with his own driver. But A.J protested.
“Sir, Mr. Trump, why would I do that?” A.J. said, according to Reilly. “You’re my president!”
According to the site Trump Golf Count, which tracks Trump’s golfing activity, between his January 29, 2017, inauguration, and Thursday of this week, Trump had paid daytime visits to golf courses — most of them owned by his own companies — 161 times, at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $91 million.
During his 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump pledged to swear off golf if he won the election, according to CNN.
“Because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go golfing, believe me. Believe me. Believe me, folks,” he said.