Trump Played Golf While 100,000 Coronavirus Deaths Loomed

MANDEL NGANGetty Images

Sunday’s New York Times cover commemorates 1,000 of the Americans lost to COVID-19, listing their names, ages, and a one-sentence biography. This catalog of mourning occupies the broadsheet’s full front page, without any photographs. The one thousand people memorialized represent about one percent of the American dead, a staggering toll that’s nearing 100,000. And on Saturday, Donald Trump began his Memorial Day weekend by playing golf.

The president headed to his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, where, according to NBC News, he was seen playing with three other people, one of whom he patted on the shoulder. None of them wore masks. The outing is an illustration of his administration’s efforts to signal a return to the old American normal, even as experts warn that some regions may experience a second wave of the virus in the coming weeks.

Saturday marked a personal milestone for Trump: 75 days since he last hit the links, the longest time during his presidency that he’s passed without a visit to one of his clubs. He’s played golf more than 200 times during his first three years in office, more than twice as many times as Barack Obama did at the same point in his presidency. During his campaign, Trump famously criticized Obama’s golf habit.

“I love golf,” he said in 2016, “but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t ever think I’d see Doral again… I don’t think I’d ever see many of the places that I have. I don’t really ever think I’d see anything, I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off and make great deals.”

He also slammed Obama for golfing while the country was contending with an infectious disease outbreak. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski pointed out on Twitter that, in 2014, with just two cases of the Ebola virus present in the US, Trump called Fox & Friends to say that Obama’s golf outing sent “the wrong signal.”

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