Working For The Weekend

I’m not sure what to make of Liberal critiques of Donald Trump’s weekend retreats to his “Southern White House”. Case in point: Mary Papenfuss’s How Much Does Trump Actually Work At Mar-A-Lago? Maybe Not So Much! for The Huffington Post.

The criticism is in some sense understandable from a financial angle.

Trump’s frequent golf jaunts are becoming enormously expensive. Politico has estimated that each trip to Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers at least $3 million. (Protecting wife Melania and son Baron back in New York has been estimated to cost an additional $1 million a day.)

The Washington Post makes the case that Trump could fund the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for nearly four years if he had skipped the resort trips he’s taken so far. But the newspaper also notes that estimating accurate costs is challenging.

…though the idea that Trump would fund the Interagency Council on Homelessness if only he weren’t golfing is highly dubious. Besides, the amounts in question may be larger than we’re used to, but any time any president goes anywhere it’s going to cost taxpayers money. The “Your travel is costing us money, Mr. President!” argument carries with it the parenthetical “(and I’m bringing it up because I don’t like you or your politics)”. The selfsame has been lobbed at Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, ad absurdum.

The main thrust of Papenfuss’s article, though, hinges on an ideology embedded so deeply in the American collective unconscious that any deviation from it causes reflexive reaction: the Protestant work ethic. Donald Trump isn’t working on the weekend! Donald Trump isn’t doing his job!

Good, I say. Do you want Trump to actually do his job? Every time he does with any sustained concentration, something kind of awful happens. If the president is uniquely terrible as some contend, he should do as little as possible. Not only should he be taking weekends off, he should take entire months off. How about a six-month furlough for the Steves (Bannon, Miller) while he’s at it?

(Year Zero/Day Fifty-Nine)