CNN Blasts Trump for Golf Outings, Yawned at Obama's Vacations

April 13th, 2017 12:14 PM

CNN's New Day on Thursday blasted President Donald Trump for spending over $21 million visiting his Mar-a-Lago estate, but excused the price tag of former President Barack Obama's golf and vacation outings. "The President is on pace to spend more money on vacations in his very first year than former President Barack Obama did in eight years in office," anchor Alisyn Camerota said.

"It shows that President Trump in just 84 days has already spent travel costs. $21 million in 84 days," Camerota added. "President Obama spent $97 million in eight years. In other words, he will spend more in one year than Obama did in eight years. The right-wing media and Republicans were upset with him. President Obama played golf. What is going on with this price tag?"

Bloomberg Executive Editor and Trump Nation author Timothy O'Brien snidely remarked, "What is going on is hypocrisy. That hypocrisy registers with Trump’s core supporters. He is fairly flagrant about it. You know, while he’s traveling he is engaging in that proletarian activity of golf."

Speaking of hypocrisy, in 2010, CNN featured Democratic operative Paul Begala to excuse Barack Obama’s pricey vacations. The CNN contributor dismissed as “silly” “when people attack Obama for going on vacation.” He added, “Of all of the concerns that Americans may have, they do not need to worry whether President Obama is a hard-working man. They may agree or disagree with his policies, but there is just no doubt that the guy is busting his rear end."

In 2016, Reuters swooned over Obama playing his 300th round of golf since taking office. So where is the journalistic consistency on golfing vacations?  (It should be pointed out that MSNBC on Thursday also adopted sudden concern about presidential getaways.) 

Back on New Day, O'Brien accused Trump of spending more on himself while proposing cuts to the government he leads. He said Trump is "not really showing any desire to cut back on his own budget at a time when he is asking the federal government as a whole to watch its waistline."

Camerota proceeded to highlight Trump's federal budget proposal released last month.

Let’s look at that waistline. Here are the things that President Trump is asking taxpayers to sacrifice and where the federal budget should cut. You see the he wants to cut the IRS by $239 million. Essential air service. $175 million. Housing. Public housing, $35 million. Science, $102 million. Loan guarantees, down by a million. His travel in the first year or two will outpace all of these cuts. 

Washington Post National Business Reporter Drew Harwell inserted his two cents and said, "The math makes sense only if you are supporting President Trump on the basis you don't like belt tightening. The list goes on. There is medical research costs and contributions to Meals on Wheels from the federal budget. The federal budget is a big thing."

Although Harwell conceded that the almost-$22-million pricetag is "a drop in the bucket" compared to overall federal spending, like Camerota and O'Brien, he slammed the President for acting hypocritically: "But, if you care about where your tax money is going and you care about government waste, you will care about the fact that President Trump is going for the seventh weekend to Mar-a-Lago this weekend."

Harwell added, "He has not changed the Trump lifestyle. That the extravagance you saw with Trump as a businessman has continued into the presidency," despite repeatedly criticizing President Obama for taking these trips.

The segment shifted to highlights of then-candidate Trump chastising Obama for golfing.

Here is the transcript of the April 13th exchange:

New Day


6:54:35 AM – 7:00:22 AM [5 min., 47 sec.]

ALISYN CAMEROTA: President Trump has been in office 84 days and his numerous trips to his Florida golf club cost more than $21 million. The President is on pace to spend more money on vacations in his very first year than former President Barack Obama did in eight years in office. Let's talk about this. Let's bring in the executive editor for Bloomberg and the author of Trump Nation. And National Business Reporter for the Washington Post, Drew Harwell. Let's just pull up the graphic one more time. It shows that President Trump in just 84 days has already spent travel costs. $21 million in 84 days. President Obama spent $97 million in eight years. In other words, he will spend more in one year than Obama did in eight years. The right-wing media and Republicans were upset with him. President Obama played golf. What is going on with this price tag? 

TIMOTHY O’BRIEN: What is going on is hypocrisy.  That hypocrisy registers with Trump’s core supporters. He is fairly flagrant about it. You know, while he’s traveling he is engaging in that proletarian activity of golf. 

CAMEROTA: Country club. 

O’BRIEN: That he owns. That the taxpayers are paying to protect. Not really showing any desire to cut back on his own budget at a time when he is asking the federal government as a whole to watch its waistline.

CAMEROTA: Alright. Let’s look at that waistline. Here are the things that President Trump is asking taxpayers to sacrifice and where the federal budget should cut. You see the he wants to cut the IRS by $239 million. Essential air service. $175 million. Housing. Public housing, $35 million. Science, $102 million. Loan guarantees, down by a million. His travel in the first year or two will outpace all of these cuts. Drew, how does that math make sense? 

DREW HARWELL: The math makes sense only if you are supporting President Trump on the basis you don't like belt tightening. The list goes on. There is medical research costs and contributions to Meals on Wheels from the federal budget. The federal budget is a big thing. The spending that goes toward Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower is a drop in the bucket compared to that. But, if you care about where your tax money is going and you care about government waste, you will care about the fact that President Trump is going for the seventh weekend to Mar-a-Lago this weekend. He has not changed the Trump lifestyle. That the extravagance you saw with Trump as a businessman has continued into the presidency, even though, as Tim said, there were many weeks where he was criticizing President Obama for doing the same thing.

CAMEROTA: We have the sound. Let's play it to remind how outraged trump was about then-President Obama's leisure activities. 


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Obama, it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf. He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods. I love golf, I think it’s one of the greats, but I don't have time. 

I will be working for you. I’m not going to have time playing golf.

I won’t leave the White House very much because, you know, like little things like these trips which cost you a fortune.

CAMEROTA: He won’t leave the White House very much because these trips cost you a fortune, Tim!

O’BRIEN: He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods. That's a classic line. I think Trump at some point may or may not be held accountable for all this. I don’t…

CAMEROTA: By whom?

O’BRIEN: We’ve talked about this before. Ultimately, it matters by his voters. I think his core supporters want jobs. There will be an issue to what extent jobs Trump everything else in electoral math.  If he claims to be a multibillionaire, why not cough it up and pay back the public for the use of the jets?

CAMEROTA: Drew, it is not just President Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago. Obviously, any president can have down time. We want them to. It is their prerogative. It is also how much it costs to protect the large first family. Melania, the First Lady, stayed in New York City. New York City officials say it costs about $140,000 a day to protect Melania and Barron because they're not living in the White House. Furthermore, you know he has five adult children or four adult children. They travel. All of them have secret service. They do international travel. That all costs a lot. So, who is going to be crunching the numbers and alerting taxpayers to it?

HARWELL: Like you said, this is a very big family. President Trump is 70 years old. He has children and grandchildren. Even the youngest get Secret Service protection going to day care. And all of this comes down to choice. We want the President to have down time. We want him to be protected. We want the First Family to be protected. But the First Lady and President Trump have chosen to live in Trump Tower in the middle of New York on Fifth Avenue. Essentially a presidential fortress. It comes down to choice. The choice we want to pay for that level of protection or do we just want to keep him in the White House and save money along the way? 

CAMETOTA: Drew and Tim, thanks very much.