Eric Trump defends president's golf trips

Eric Trump defends president's golf trips
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President Trump’s son on Monday said his father uses his golf outings to strengthen his ties with potential allies.

“You can sit with somebody in a golf cart where there might be cultural differences and language barriers and have a good time and build a friendship with somebody in a way you could never do sitting across an office table from someone,” Eric Trump told The Irish Independent.

He added that the president often hosts guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the same way former President George W. Bush greeted people at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

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“Mar-a-Lago is an amazing estate that has been a very effective tool for [my father] to go down and get to know somebody while not sitting ... across a wooded partition, which instantly makes a relationship more strenuous.”

President Trump visited Trump International Golf Club near Mar-a-Lago last Saturday, which was reportedly his 18th visit to a golf course since becoming president in January.

Reports emerged last week that the Secret Service has spent more than $35,000 in golf cart rentals at Mar-a-Lago since Inauguration Day. 

Estimates released earlier this month show that Trump’s trips have cost more than $20 million so far, nearly the amount spent by former President Obama during his first two years in office combined.

Obama spent approximately $97 million on travel during his eight years in office, averaging $12.12 million annually.

Trump repeatedly criticized Obama’s golfing trips before launching a presidential campaign to succeed him last year.