It’s an ignoble achievement on its own, but also may represent a violation of ethics rules, allowing President Trump to gain personally from his public office. The milestone that President Trump has just reached is that he just spent his 100th day at one of his golf properties since taking office. Those 100 days represent nearly 25% of all his days in office.
One issue is the golfing itself, which the White House now tries to conceal, so we’re not certain how many of those 100 days were days Trump actually golfed, but we can be sure it’s a large majority of them. After candidate Trump claimed he wouldn’t have time to golf while in office and loudly decried President Obama ever being on the golf course, Trump has spent more time on golf course than any of his predecessors at this point in their presidential tenure. From that standpoint, Trump seems like a hypocrite, because he is a hypocrite, saying one thing while doing another.
Then there is the problem that Trump did not sell off his businesses before becoming president the way other presidents have. While Trump has his adult sons running day-to-day operations of his companies, he still stands to gain financially from all the free press and pay-for-play access his golf properties are getting from his repeated visits and political connections. According to CNN:
President Donald Trump reached a presidential milestone at his Palm Beach County, Florida, golf club on Saturday: One hundred days in office at a golf club that bears his name. Trump, once a critic of presidential golfing, has ignored his own advice and made a habit of visiting some of the many golf courses emblazoned in his moniker…In total, Trump has spent nearly 25% of his days in office at one of his golf clubs…Trump’s golf habit has drawn incredible scrutiny in his first year in office, with watchdog groups raising questions about whether his endorsement of his own properties violates federal law…Critics have faulted Trump’s repeated trips to his properties, claiming they allow the businessman to boost the bottom line at the Trump Organization and give his properties a presidential stamp of approval. Though Trump transferred his businesses holdings to a trust run by his sons before taking office in 2017, he stopped short of selling off his holdings and still could benefit from money flowing into his properties.
The chief White House ethics lawyer during the Obama administration, Norm Eisen, called Trump’s 100th day at one of his golf properties since taking office “an ignominious anniversary”, according to CNN, further saying “First, there is his hypocrisy in criticizing Obama for golfing and then playing much more himself. Then there is the fact that he is using his government platform to promote his businesses. Finally, he is also mingling with representatives of corporate interests who are paying to play, and not just golf. Because they have business before the federal government, that creates more conflicts. Trump has hit an unprecedented ethics bogey.”
Indeed much of Donald Trump’s presidency may be described as “an unprecedented ethics bogey”. For this particular aspect of the Trump ethics quagmire, Trump has been advised repeatedly that he should avoid visiting his golf properties while in office in order to avoid both the appearance of impropriety and actual impropriety in his gaining personally and financially from his public office, but Trump of course does not listen to reason on this point, because he doesn’t listen in general. And the whole Trump family continues to act as if ethics rules don’t apply to them, as if laws don’t apply to them, as if it is perfectly acceptable for Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner to gain personally from their public offices, when it is not. The Trumps all seem to have an astonishing sense of entitlement. And yet they wonder why their activities are under such scrutiny.