With Congress out on its August recess, the president is now on a highly scrutinized 17-day “working vacation” at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Many people are irked by this. On Wednesday, 53 percent of respondents in an AOL News survey thought the president should not be taking a “working vacation,” versus 43 percent who supported it.
Every president gets guff for vacationing. “It’s sort of an easy target,” Kenneth Walsh, author From Mount Vernon to Crawford: A History of the Presidents and Their Retreats, told USA Today last week. But Trump is under particular scrutiny for two reasons: Visits to his Trump-branded resort properties raise ethics concerns, and the president has repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for vacationing. Trump told CBS News last year that he wouldn’t be “very big on vacations” as president, but he’s now on track to spend “three times as many days at leisure as Obama” by the end of August, according to The Washington Post. That’s true even as the president insists, dubiously, that he’s “working hard” in New Jersey, not really vacationing at all.
The irony is that the republic would be much better served if Trump took his vacation more seriously—by disengaging as much as possible. We might have been spared his Twitter meltdowns over separate criticisms by senators Richard Blumenthal and Mitch McConnell. We might even have been spared his terrifying threat to unleash “fire and fury” on nuclear North Korea.
As CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah wrote on Saturday, “while Trump is clearly not deserving of a 17-day vacation only six months into his new job, we, the people, desperately need one! Typically presidents, like Lincoln, will visibly age while in office. In this case, Trump is doing a reverse-Lincoln: he is aging all of us.” That’s doubly true for politicians. “Under this presidency, every hour feels like a day. Every day feels like a week. Every week feels like a month,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, told The New York Times. “Both the American people and the Congress do need a mental health break.”
Trump could clearly use one, too.