President Trump spends a lot of his time away from the White House golfing and relaxing at his estates in Palm Beach, Fla., and Bedminster, N.J.
Back in April, Philip Bump wrote for The Fix that as of April, Trump spent one out of every five minutes of his presidency in Palm Beach. Presidents leaving with White House for a little R&R is not a new phenomenon, but Trump outpaces his predecessors.
An article about Trump’s complicated relationship to golf, which ran on Golf.com Tuesday, shines some light on why: Trump reportedly told some members of his club that he thinks the White House is a “real dump.”
To call the 55,000-square-foot, six-floor, 132-room, 35-bathroom house that sits on 18 acres of land a “dump” and imply it’s beneath your standards sounds elitist, and it’s ironic coming from the man who rode a populist wave to the White House.
It’s true that the White House is very old. The cornerstone was laid in 1792, and construction finished eight years later. And okay, sure, it was burned down in 1814 during the War of 1812. But by 1817 it was rebuilt. And since then the White House has undergone numerous new additions and renovations. Congress appropriates funding for each president to redecorate and improve the White House and its grounds. During Bill Clinton’s second term, Congress approved a budget of $100,000, according to the White House Historical Association.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, had a habit of making remarks that emphasized his wealth. He referred to his NASCAR team-owning friends, and insisted to hecklers that “corporations are people.” He was lampooned for his plans to build a car elevator in one of his homes. Some argued that his “47 percent” comment confirmed that stereotype and contributed to him losing the election. But despite repeated public reminders that he is a billionaire, the out-of-touch label never stuck to Trump.
Trump positioned himself as a spokesman of regular folks. “The forgotten men and women of our country — people who work hard but no longer have a voice: I am your voice,” he said during the acceptance speech for his nomination at the Republican National Convention just over a year ago.
Since being elected, Trump has undermined that positioning time and time again. Trump stacked his Cabinet with billionaires. His administration has bragged about how many wealthy people it has. His proposed budget cuts funding to many of the programs and services his supporters rely on. Trump encouraged Congress to pass health-care bills that would strip millions of their Medicaid coverage.
It’s clear from the comments and his actions that Trump likes nice things and rich people. If the dump comments aren’t proof enough, then consider this passage from the Golf.com article:
At the dinner, Trump addressed the members of the club by saying, “This is my real group. You are the special people. I see all of you. I recognize, like, 100% of you, just about.”
Membership to the club, according to NJ.com, costs $300,000, more than five times the national median income of $56,500 in 2015.