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Trump golfing at faster rate than Obama, but Spicer says it’s different


President Donald Trump’s frequent visits to his weekend White House at Mar-a-Lago are “part of being president” and his many trips to the golf course are different from the ones he criticized former President Barack Obama for taking, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.

Trump has visited Palm Beach on five of the first nine weekends of his presidency, wrapping up his latest trip Sunday.

Trump appears to have played golf 10 times since taking office, a rate of once every six days. Obama, frequently criticized by Trump and Republicans for his time on the links, played an estimated 333 rounds over eight years — a rate of once every 8.8 days he was in office.

RELATED: The Post’s complete coverage of Donald Trump

Spicer fielded queries about golf and Mar-a-Lago during an afternoon press briefing dominated by questions about FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

Spicer said he could not confirm reports of an upcoming Mar-a-Lago summit in April with Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Spicer was asked if Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago are justified in light of spending cuts proposed in Trump’s budget. The trips could cost federal taxpayers $2 million to $3 million a weekend, according to various estimates. Palm Beach County taxpayers have spent more than $1.5 million since the Nov. 8 election to provide local law enforcement to supplement Secret Service protection of Trump.

“Presidents always travel. Wherever he goes, he carries the apparatus of the White House with us…The president will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation’s problems,” Spicer said.

“The president’s very clear that he works seven days a week. This is where he goes to see his family. He brings people down there. This is part of being president,” Spicer said.

Asked how Trump’s golf outings were different from Obama’s, Spicer said: “You saw him utilize this as a opportunity with Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe to help foster deeper relationships in Southeast Asia, in Asia rather, and have a growing relationship that’s going to help U.S. interests. How you use the game of golf is something that he’s talked about.”

Trump and Japan’s Abe played golf on Feb. 11 at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, then visited Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach. It was one of the few times the White House has actually confirmed Trump was playing golf.

When he’s in Palm Beach, Trump often makes the brief trip to Trump International in a golf shirt and hat and spends more than three hours at the club. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s playing golf, Spicer said.

“On a couple of occasions he’s actually conducted meetings there, he’s actually had phone calls. So just because he heads there doesn’t mean that that’s what’s happening,” Spicer said.

Asked why few details of those meetings or calls are ever revealed, Spicer said, “It’s the same reason that he can have dinner or lunch with somebody…The president’s entitled to a bit of privacy at some point.”



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