Yesterday Donald Trump completed his first month as president. Here’s how he judges his performance so far:
OK, this isn’t really Trump’s self-assessment. It’s a set of his attacks on President Obama for doing the same sort of things Trump himself has been doing (except more so) since taking office, as compiled by the staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Blogger Steve Benen offers more examples here. For instance, Trump blasted Obama for taking a few trips on Air Force One to Hawaii, a nice place to visit but also where he was born and spent most of his youth. A little over a year ago Trump implied he’d hardly take any trips at all as president, saying, “I’d want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”
In fact, Trump flew Air Force One to his commercial resort in Palm Beach, Florida, three of his first four weekends in office. To be fair, he got some work while there (as Obama also did on his less-frequent travels), but he got in some golf as well. There’s nothing wrong with this. The presidency is a high-pressure job and presidents need to unwind. But it makes his remarks about Obama look pretty hypocritical.
Incidentally, one reason for Trump’s frequent trips may be that his regular presence is a selling point for his club. Mar-a-Lago has just doubled its membership initiation fee to $200,000 plus tax. To be fair, the initiation fee had been $200,000 in the past as well, but was cut to $100,000 in 2012 when the number of new memberships reportedly fell off. As far as I know, profiting from the presidency this way appears to be legal, but a lot of authorities on government ethics find it objectionable.
Back during the campaign Trump also complained about the cost of President Obama’s travels, but Trump’s whole family has been costing federal, state, and local governments a lot of money, way more than for previous presidents it appears. It’s still a drop in the bucket of the federal budget, and again I’m not objecting to it, just pointing out the obvious hypocrisy.
(Revised 2017 February 23 for clarity.)