President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press that he has not been able to visit U.S. soldiers overseas as president because he has been “very busy.”
However, the website Trump Golf Count says it has evidence that the president has golfed at least 68 times since his inauguration in January of 2017. The site, which keeps track of all of Trump’s travels, said that during his presidency Trump has spent 72 days at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, and 58 days at his Bedminster Country Club in New Jersey.
Trump told the AP that he doesn’t think it is “overly necessary” that he, as president, actually visit a military base in a combat zone. He did say, however, that he might do so “at some point in the future.”
“I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” Trump said in the interview.
“I’m doing a lot of things. But it’s something I’d do. And do gladly,” the president continued. “Nobody has been better at the military. Hey, I just got them a pay raise. I haven’t had a pay raise in 11 years… I have done more for the military than any president in many, many years.”
When questioned about the sizeable increase in the number of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Africa since he became president, Trump said that he needs to keep soldiers abroad “to see safety at home.”
“The main thing I have to see is, I have to see safety at home… If I think people are likely to do some very bad things in faraway places to our homeland, I’m going to have troops there for a period of time,” he told the AP.
Trump has often bragged that he is “the most militaristic person you’ll ever meet.” Still, he has been heavily criticized by some veterans for not visiting active military installations overseas which is a time-honored tradition of American presidents.
Alexander McCoy, a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and spokesperson for the grassroots organization Common Defense, has been critical of Trump. He told the New York Daily News in a report published on Wednesday that “veterans aren’t surprised Trump has no interest in going to war, after he used his wealth and elite connections to avoid the draft five times while working class people went in his place.”
“What makes us even more furious isn’t that he won’t visit us in combat zones now, but that he continues to recklessly escalate and extend the pointless quagmire wars he’s making us fight, while back at home he’s using us as political props for his agenda of using bigotry to divide us so he can give tax cuts to himself and his fellow billionaires,” he added.