Dave Hannigan: Trump gets the clubs back out as death toll keeps rising

US president’s golf exploits widely reported but it doesn’t stop him racking up rounds

US president Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia last weekend. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

US president Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia last weekend. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Early one Sunday morning in August, 2002, president George W Bush pulled up to the first tee at Cape Arundel golf club in Kennebunkport, Maine, his father alongside him in the cart, and addressed reporters. He delivered a measured condemnation of an overnight suicide bombing in Israel that killed nine people, castigating those threatening the Middle East peace process. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers,” he said, pausing for a second before announcing, “Now, watch this drive!”

A moment so crass and ill-advised that even the tone deaf, brass-necked Bush administration had to admit the optics were troublesome. Not long after that unseemly episode, he put away the clubs for the rest of his time in office, realising how out of kilter it looked to be laughing and joking on fairways while a generation of American soldiers were fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq on his orders. Even that smidgen of self-awareness in a mediocre leader seems like such a quaint memory now.

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