(AP/Patrick Semansky)

Don't fall for the great CNN truck golf distraction

There's a real important story, hidden somewhere behind a truck that's obscuring our view of the president


Jeremy Binckes
December 29, 2017 1:23PM (UTC)

Perhaps it's a slow news week, or perhaps frustrations over President Donald Trump's incredibly secretive first year are getting to a level of frustration, but there's currently a brouhaha over a truck parked at a golf course in Florida, and it's a legitimate one.

After Trump tweeted Monday, "I hope everyone is having a great Christmas, then tomorrow it’s back to work," the president spent the rest of the week golfing. We know this, because on Tuesday, CNN cameras captured Trump hitting the links.

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The next day, the White House press pool was taken to an IHOP near the Trump International Golf Club to sit and wait while the president golfed. CNN, meanwhile, tried to get the same image of Trump golfing in the middle of the day. But this time, they were thwarted by a big, white box truck, which blocked the cameras' line of sight. What makes it an even odder story is that the Secret Service told CNN that they weren't the ones who ordered the white truck to impede the network's vision of the president playing through.

When CNN brought that up, conservatives pounced. Here was the distraction that they were waiting for: "CNN's quest for truth behind truck blocking view of Trump golf course stretches into second day," The Washington Examiner mused. The Tucker Carlson-backed Daily Caller went with the headline, "CNN whines about truck blocking golf course."

It's a brazen act of trying to reframe the story. The fact is simple: Someone — perhaps being paid with American tax dollars to do this — parked a truck so that the media couldn't see that the president was enjoying a game of golf. And the only reason the American public should care that the president is playing golf is because the White House has basically refused to say if the president is golfing — even when he's been captured on film by people playing golf. Here's what the Golf News Network has to say about the president's fascination with their sport:

We don't know if Trump has played golf every time he shows up to one of his clubs. That's because the Trump Administration has gone out of its way to bar the White House press pool from shadowing President Trump when he goes to his golf clubs. That means Trump could be playing golf, or he could be hitting golf balls on the range, or he could be twiddling his thumbs. We don't know, and the Trump Administration won't say.

And the only reason the media would care about that is because Trump said on the campaign trail that he wouldn't go golfing — explicitly saying he wouldn't go to the Doral Golf Club, which he's visited this year on multiple occasions — because he'd "work my ass off."

Nearly a third of Trump's first year in office has been spent visiting his properties — and mostly golf clubs, at that. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars has been spent — between the Secret Service's rental of clubs, golf carts, and other fees — so that Trump can do something he said he wouldn't be doing.

But it all comes down to this: If Trump said he didn't eat ice cream because he was lactose intolerant — and was then seen with his hand deep in a pint of chocolate ice cream, and with chocolate ice cream all over his face — he wouldn't admit that he was eating ice cream.

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Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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