Dana Milbank: Trump's Dorian response is par for the course
The dishonest fakers at the Amazon Washington Post and the failing New York Times are again attacking your favorite president, this time for playing golf while a Category 5 hurricane took aim at the United States.
Bad people! Everybody knows the best way to prepare for a hurricane is by playing golf.
Beating a Category 5 is nothing if you can birdie a par five (the 590-yard 12th hole on Trump National Golf Club’s Championship Course is “monstrous”). Though recent hurricanes have been some of “the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water,” they are less intimidating after you’ve survived the eighth hole of the Riverview Course: not one but two merciless water hazards blocking your approach.
Hurricanes are best weathered from bunkers, and you can bet Trump spent time in those this weekend with his sand wedge. Think high winds are a threat during hurricanes? They’re even more hazardous to your handicap; it wouldn’t surprise me if, in true emergencies, Trump has resorted to a 2-iron to reduce loft. And not even a meteorologist studies rotation as closely as a golfer; just one slice and all models project you’ll make landfall in the deep rough.
Essentially, Trump was on the fairways doing exactly what we’d want our president to be do during a natural disaster — with a few minor revisions:
The president canceled a trip to Poland for the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, allowing him to give his undivided attention to Hurricane Dorian play rounds of golf both Saturday and Monday at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
In his place, he sent the vice president to Europe to renew the enduring trans-Atlantic bond stay at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland. The president also delivered a somber message chipper greeting to Poles on the anniversary of the Nazi invasion, recalling the death and suffering of millions of Poles saying: “I just want to congratulate Poland.”
At a briefing before last year’s hurricane season, the president honed a sophisticated knowledge of tropical storms spoke aimlessly about catapults on aircraft carriers. Three other Category 5 storms had already occurred during his presidency, which meant that he was well-prepared to respond to such a storm didn’t stop him on Sunday from declaring, again, that “I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard of a Category 5.”
His director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and his secretary of homeland security were both seasoned veterans serving in temporary, “acting” capacities, and his head of the Coast Guard provided him storm updates packed with sophisticated government data that “you can pretty much get ... on television.”
On Friday, when the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the Bahamas, the president announced that he would spare no expense in aiding relief efforts “the top shows on @foxnews and cable ratings are those that are Fair (or great) to your favorite President, me!” He expressed confidence that Florida Mar-a-Lago could withstand the storm. After learning during an intelligence briefing Friday that Iran had an unsuccessful rocket launch, the president coordinated a response with allies trolled Iran by including in a tweet an image that may have revealed covert U.S. activities.
On Saturday, when the hurricane center warned of Dorian’s “life-threatening storm surge and devastating winds,” the president spent the day overseeing emergency preparations attacking former FBI director James Comey, celebrating his success on “The Apprentice,” responding to a now-former aide’s claim that he disapproves of his daughter’s weight (“I love Tiffany, doing great!”) and playing golf. The president had said he would “not have time to play golf in office” has played 213 rounds of golf while in office.
On Monday, as storm warnings widened, the president spent hours on the phone with emergency management officials playing golf again and checking on pre-positioning of relief supplies attacking the AFL-CIO chief, economist Paul Krugman, the “Fake News Media” and four nonwhite congresswomen.
On Tuesday, the hurricane center said Dorian would soon “move dangerously close” to Florida, then Georgia and the Carolinas; the president prayerfully summoned the nation’s resolve attacked the Federal Reserve, the mayor of London, former president Barack Obama and “the whole Witch Hunt against me.”
And, all across this great land, Americans rallied to the cause wondered: Do hurricanes give mulligans?
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.