Presidents golfing rather than governing

Dave owen, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump and his apparent propensity for golfing rather than spending time on the job has been in the news lately. Sadly, such activities for a president are not unprecedented or unexpected, but rather seem to show Trump adapting the Washington status quo rather than being accountable and living up to his campaign promise of spending time  “Making America Great Again.”

Your job is more important than theirs, and the consequence of failure in your position are such far more disastrous.

— Dave Owen

Trump has spent nearly 25 percent of his  standard work time in the first month alone on non-work related activities, and it is time to examine what would be an appropriate standard for the president, and how he ranks compared to other presidents.

As it stands, Trump has only been in office for a little over a month, so we are going to have to make assumptions on how he compares to his predecessors.

First off, standard work week is defined as five days from 9-5. Secondly, we will assume that due to a lack of data (he has only been in for 30 days), the work schedule of Trump will remain consistent throughout his first year as president, and the second being that golfing and relaxing at his resort do not constitute political activity or work.

While it is possible Trump is actually fielding important phone calls during this time, it was also possible that President George W. Bush was at his ranch or Barack Obama was in his various destinations during his presidency. By my calculations, Donald Trump would spend an astonishing 13 weeks of time on vacation, or roughly 3.25 months if his current pace continues.

This sadly ranks him as the second most vacation happy president of all time behind only President George Bush’s astronomical four and a half months per year on vacation.

Compared to both President Obama and Clinton, (.9 and .7, respectively) President Trump is on pace to spend anywhere from three to four times as much time on vacation as these former presidents, and has already taken a third  as many vacation days as Clinton did in his entire first year. Now that we have the data for comparison we can discuss the problem of timing and perception this creates.

The first issue is one of timing. While Bush was similarly absent, he was largely so in his second session when he had already lost his congressional majorities and had become a lame duck, Trump by comparison is averaging near Bush’s pace during the period when the president has the most power, the first 100 days. These first 100 days are crucial as they set the tone for the presidency and the influence of the president. It is also the time when they have the greatest influence and power to push policy through.

The second key problem here is perception. Seeing as President Trump ran on a policy of “Make America Great Again” and “Draining the Swamp,” to become the worst offender in the swamp does not send an encouraging message and shows that he will likely leave congress to its own devices, being an absent president.

With each day Trump spends ignoring what he as described as a  “broken system,”  it becomes more believable that he is was never actually interested in fixing the system in the first place but instead becomes a symbol for what is wrong with it. It has become increasingly difficult to take Trump’s promises of putting America and its people first seriously, when he in this first month as president has taken as many non-holiday days off in a month as many Americans take in a year. This is especially disheartening when there is so much work to be done if we are to believe his campaign rhetoric about corruption in Washington DC.

Lastly, I would like to make sure readers understand that this is not a unique issue to Donald Trump. Even though Trump is currently on pace to be worse in terms of absence than Clinton and Obama behind, it’s  inexcusable that any public servant and executive be permitted to take so many days off the most important job in our nation.

When you sign up to be the leader of the free world, you should be willing to work as many hours as the average American does, and take less not more days of vacation than they do as after all.

Your job is more important than theirs, and the consequence of failure in your position are such far more disastrous. It’s impossible to be frequently absent while simultaneously being effective, and America deserves for once a committed effective executive.

Dave Owen is a staff writer for   The Dakota Student. He can be reached at  [email protected]