Politics

Trump’s Golf Game With Congress Still Stuck in a Sandtrap

Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s few golf partners on the Hill, played a round with the President Sunday

President Donald Trump, shown arriving at the 2015 Iowa State Fair in a golf cart, has found few golf partners in Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump on Sunday capitalized on the alignment of his reported two-week golf-club stay with the Senate’s abbreviated recess, making a rare announcement of a tee time with Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

But don’t count on too many more presidential swings at coalition building with influential lawmakers during his trip to Bedminster, New Jersey.  The White House keeps most records of Trump’s golf outings secret, but media reports indicate he has spent only a fraction of his golfing time with members of Congress.

Trump has spent about 12,000 hours on golf outings since he was sworn in last year, according to the website trumpgolfcount.com, which attempts to keep a record of the president’s golfing from sightings and confirmed reports. That’s about 9 percent of the roughly 13,500 hours he has been in office. Another Trump golf tracker, from the fact-checking site Politifact, estimated that Trump had gone on 56 confirmed golf outings, as of May 18, compared to Obama’s 37 at the same point in his presidency.

In addition to Graham, who has accompanied the president to the links at least six times, the site has found only three other members of Congress — all Senators — who have appeared with the president on the links.

Trump golfed with Sen. Bob Corker, R.-Tenn., once, in June of 2017, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, twice, in April and October of 2017, and with Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., once, in December 2017. 

Those outings haven’t scored notable political points for the president. Two months after Corker described his day on the greens with Trump as “enjoyable,” the Senator called the White House, “an adult day care center.” A few days after the president teed off against Paul, Paul sided against Trump on a critical budget resolution vote, Politico reported.

The president has fared better with Perdue.

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The two men, both Washington outsiders who rank among the district’s golfers formed an early alliance that has served both of them well.

Trump reportedly calls Perdue for advice at all hours of the day, placing Perdue in the important position as the Senate GOP’s bridge to the White House. 

The Washington Post estimated that Trump’s golfing partner could be identified on only 81 of the 111 confirmed days that he has played golf while in the White House. 

That makes it notable his office acknowledged his rendezvous with Graham in a press release Sunday. The two discussed, “a number of issues including national security and trade,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. 

The president planned to host two fundraisers for Republican House and Senate hopefuls at the  Trump National Golf Course during his stay, according to media reports.

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