President Donald Trump “cheats like a Mafia accountant” when it comes to golf, according to sportswriter Rick Reilly, The Independent reports. Reilly levels the allegations in his new book, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump.
“He cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching, and he cheats when they aren’t,” Reilly writes in his book, which is based largely on interviews from a number of individuals who have golfed with Trump over the years.
According to Reilly, Trump has added a new trick to his underhanded repertoire on the links since becoming president: deploying the Secret Service to relocate mishit balls to more more favorable positions on the course. The author claims that both members of the Secret Service, as well as the president’s caddies, routinely move balls that land badly.
Trump, over the years, has repeatedly denied any allegations that he cheats at golf.
In addition to recounting a variety of allegations of cheating raised by celebrities and others who have had the opportunity to play golf with Trump over the years, Reilly, in his book, also digs into some claims that the president has made about his own golf game.
Trump, for example, has said he has a 2.8 handicap, a claim Reilly characterizes as “a lie that’s so over-the-top Crazytown, it loses all credibility among golfers the second it’s out of his mouth.”
Jack Nicklaus, whom many consider the greatest golfer of all time, has a handicap of 3.7.
Trump played golf with Rush Limbaugh today. White House released this photo pic.twitter.com/o3lI7D1cjG
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) April 20, 2019
Celebrities whose Trump-related golf experiences are highlighted in the book include actor Samuel L. Jackson, boxing great Oscar De La Hoya, and musician Alice Cooper.
This isn’t the first time that Reilly has made the case that Trump is a golf cheat, leading the president in 2016 to respond publicly to the allegations.
“I always thought he was a terrible writer. I absolutely killed him, and he wrote very inaccurately,” Trump said at the time.
In addition to his alleged untrustworthiness on the golf course, Trump has also garnered criticism since taking office for the frequency of his golf outings, as well at their associated cost.
An analysis of U.S. federal government spending data by political action committee American Bridge 21st Century estimated that the Secret Service alone has spent nearly $1 million protecting the president on golf trips so far.
Trump, who frequently criticized then-President Barack Obama for spending too much time golfing, has far surpassed his predecessor in the number of outings so far in his presidency.