US & Canada

Donald Trump's golf hobby under scrutiny with Clinton tweet

President Donald Trump (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) are seen at Trump International Golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Trump (pictured here with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the left) has made visits to his Florida golf courses a weekend habit during his first month in office

A Hillary Clinton retweet has drawn attention to President Donald Trump's golf outings, which critics are hoping to turn into a political handicap.

The former Democratic White House candidate shared a graph suggesting her former rival spent 25 hours on the links during his first month in office.

Mr Trump made his sixth trip to the golf course on Sunday, joined by professional golfer Rory McIlroy.

The Republican was a frequent critic of Barack Obama's fairway excursions.

According to an analysis of Washington Post pool reports that was retweeted by Mrs Clinton, the president has dedicated 21 hours to foreign relations, 13 hours to tweeting and six hours to intelligence briefings in his first weeks.


Image copyright Getty Images

Clinton's barbs sharpen - Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News

What do you do when your life's goal, a dream that was nearly realised, slips away in a flash? That's the question Hillary Clinton has faced since Donald Trump smashed her presidential hopes last November.

In the ensuing days, the former secretary of state has taken long walks in New York woods with her husband, Bill. She's given a few speeches and caught some shows on Broadway, where she's always warmly received. And she's tweeted.

Haltingly, at first. A few Thanksgiving messages here, a get-well note to George HW Bush there. She stood firmly on uncontroversial ground.

Now, however, her voice is sharpening. She celebrates the anti-Trump protests that have swept across the country. She's poked fun at the president and taken more pointed shots at his policies and positions. As the president has stumbled, she's tiptoeing closer and closer to the land of "I told you so".

What's next for a woman in her life's third or fourth act? Rumours of a run for New York swirled then receded. When the presidential prize was so close, will anything else bring satisfaction?

Given that the Clintons have been in the national spotlight for decades, a quiet exit seems increasingly unlikely.


Mr Trump joined Rory McIlroy, one of the world's highest ranked golfers, at Trump International Golf Club on Sunday.

The Irishman later told a golf blog he had played a full 18 holes with the president, as well as the chief executive of Clear Sports and former New York Yankee Paul O'Neill.

But McIlroy's account contradicted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

She said Mr Trump had only "played a couple of holes" on Saturday, as well as Sunday.

Image copyright Twitter

When pressed about McIlroy's comments on Monday, she said Mr Trump had "intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer".

The White House has otherwise declined to say who plays with Mr Trump, drawing backlash from US media over how much time he spends on the green.

But the president's golf hobby also recalls his repeated criticism of President Obama.

Mr Trump regularly accused Mr Obama of spending too much time golfing before and throughout his presidential campaign.

Image copyright @ClearSportsLLC
Image caption President Trump (2nd left) with Rory McIlroy (2nd right) on Sunday

"Can you believe that, with all the problems and difficulties facing the US, President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter," he tweeted in October 2014.

Ten days later, he tweeted: "President Obama has a major meeting on the NYC Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!"

Mr Trump also said he would be too busy to swing at a tee if elected.

"I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf," he said last August.

But he later softened his tone toward the game, which he said could be used as a tool of diplomacy.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Barack Obama (R) lines up a putt as British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) looks on near Watford in Hertfordshire, England, in April 2016

"I don't think you should play very much," he told the Golf Channel in July.

"But if you're going to play, you should use it to your advantage, and the country's advantage."

Earlier this month, the president hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and played a full round with the foreign leader as well as professional golfer Ernie Els.

However, his foursome on Sunday did not include any political types.

Former Presidents George W Bush and his father, George HW Bush, were also criticised for their golf outings, at the outsets of the first and second Iraq wars.

Related Topics