On Tuesday's Inside Politics, CNN host John King harrumphed about President Trump's hypocrisy and lack of empathy for playing golf on Labor Day while Hurricane Dorian was over the Bahamas. "The president played golf yesterday, provoking considerable backlash and accusations he is not spending enough time worrying about the hurricane." Then King played a pile of clips from 2016 of Trump mocking Obama for golfing, and insisting "If I win this, I'm not going to be playing much golf."
JOHN KING: There's clearly the hypocrisy of the Obama reference, which we could just set that aside in the -- in the sense that there are a lot of things this president said as a candidate, especially about Obama, that we can attribute, if you want, to just a politician saying things. So there's the hypocrisy. The other question, though, to me more is the empathy factor. Yes, the storm was hitting the Bahamas yesterday, not really the United States yet. But I can't find the words for it. But has he rewritten all the rules, all the norms?
JULIE PACE, AP: Yes, I mean, the empathy question is something that this president has struggled with in a lot of different situations, but certainly when it comes to natural disasters that are barreling down or poised to barrel down on parts of this country, it just doesn't come naturally to him. And, in some ways, he doesn't really try... I mean what the federal government does, the response of the federal government to these types of situations ultimately rests on him. And so other presidents have just been a little bit better about the optics around them, understanding that eventually the questions if something does go wrong land on their desk.
VIVIAN SALAMA, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, and bear in mind that he was supposed to be going to Poland this weekend to begin with and he cancelled that trip in the name of monitoring this hurricane, and then the very next day he went and played golf. And so again, like Julie says, a lot of it was optics more than anything else. Whether or not he was receiving constant updates or not, he may have been at the golf course, but it's -- it's just not a good look in a time of crisis when a lot of Americans are, you know, evacuating their homes and things like that. They wanted a little bit more from the president in terms of empathy.
But wait, King can scold Trump for mocking Obama's very regular golfing schedule -- and yet, he's "rewritten" all the rules and norms?
Five years ago, on the same program, after Obama caused controversy by golfing almost immediately after he made a statement condemning ISIS for executing journalist James Foley, then-Bloomberg reporter Margaret Talev felt Obama's pain, that the poor man just "wants to go out for a few hours and be left alone."
JOHN KING: ...Margaret – you know, forgive me – good for the President for owning up, saying that was a bad call to go golfing so quickly – but it's not the first time.
MARGARET TALEV, BLOOMBERG: No – and look, it's not like he doesn't get the optics. He just hates that he has to deal with it....and is increasingly frustrated. You know, as you see the rest of his term winding down, he's just like, oh, my God, I'm over it! You know, he's getting bashed over the head by Congress; you know, pummeled by these international crises that he has very little ability to sway. And he's like – the man wants to go out for a few hours and be left alone.