On Thursday — Christmas Eve — outgoing President Donald Trump went golfing at his Palm Beach golf club, despite the fact that a notice that the White House released the day before had glibly insisted that Trump’s “schedule includes many meetings and calls,” despite the fact that these supposed “meetings and calls” weren’t actually listed on the public version of his schedule. The original notice, reporters noted, wasn’t ordinary, although Trump has definitely faced scrutiny for his often not-exactly-full schedule in the past. In his final weeks in office, the White House’s insistence that Trump will be participating in “many meetings and calls” seems like an embarrassingly desperate last-ditch attempt to shore up the president’s public image.
At 10:18 am, President Trump’s motorcade pulled into Trump International Golf Club.
Last night, the White House issued daily guidance, writing that the President is “working tirelessly” and has “many meetings and calls.”
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 24, 2020
Trump has spent a truly staggering amount of time golfing during his presidency. As this week draws to a close and Christmas approaches, the U.S. continues to struggle through the damaging public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, and high-profile interests across the government are reeling from an apparent cyber-intrusion by Russian agents — and Trump is, again, golfing.
His Christmas Eve golf trip unfolded after he vetoed the defense spending authorization bill for the upcoming year over his complaint that the legislation doesn’t include an undoing of legal liability protections for social media companies like Twitter, which he has petulantly feuded with. Trump has also publicly complained about a major COVID-19 relief package that both houses of Congress approved, which includes direct cash payments to many Americans, an extra level of weekly unemployment assistance, support for small businesses, and more. Both pieces of legislation — the defense spending package and the COVID-19 relief bill — initially passed both chambers of Congress with enough support to eventually override a presidential veto.
Besides his frequent rounds of golfing, Trump has also been leading an anti-democratic crusade against the election outcome, falsely alleging that widespread fraud plagued the process and swung the election to Biden. Conservative and liberal judges across the country, including a slew of Trump’s own appointees, have rejected the arguments from the president and his allies, and Joe Biden is unequivocally on track to be inaugurated as the next president.