President Donald Trump is set to take a 17-day vacation to a golf club in New Jersey, according to ABC News. The White House has not officially confirmed this, but according to this report, the president will begin his vacation on Friday, August 4th, and he will return on Monday, August 21st.
This is the first extended vacation Trump has taken since becoming president, although he has spent several weekends away from the White House at Mar-a-Lago. For the next 17 days, Trump will be at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
It’s traditional for the president to take a vacation in August; Barack Obama usually traveled to Martha’s Vineyard during the summer. But it’s only noteworthy for Trump to be taking one because he has explicitly said that presidents should not go on vacation.
“You know, you’d think that you’re president, and you’re going to be there for another almost two years, you’d think you’d never leave,” Trump said in February 2015. “You’d think you’d stay in the White House. Who wants to go on vacation when you’re president? You stay there in command center.”
Trump also said during a campaign rally in August 2016, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
And when he was a private citizen, Trump repeatedly criticized President Obama for taking vacations.
“The fact is he takes more vacations that any human being I’ve ever seen,” Trump told Fox News in 2011. “…We have a president that’s constantly, whether it’s Martha’s Vineyard or someplace else, constantly on vacation. I mean, all the time he’s on vacation. I think it sends a very, very bad message.”
Aside from the fact that it’s necessary for all presidents to take vacations from time to time, there’s another reason Trump is leaving D.C. for some of August: the White House’s almost three-decade old heating and cooling system is being replaced, and so everyone who works in the West Wing is being forced to clear out, according to ABC News. There is also some other maintenance work that is going to be done, including fixing water leaks, replacing carpeting and curtains, and fixing stairs on the South Portico.
Congress is also leaving for a vacation this month, and their break lasts much longer than the president’s. The House of Representatives has already been away since July 29th, and they don’t return until September 5th. The Senate decided to delay their recess in order to get some more work done, and so they’re leaving on August 11th and returning on September 5th. President Trump previously encouraged Congress not to leave for vacation without passing a health care bill, although it’s clear now that no such bill will be passed before the recess.
“Frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care,” Trump said on July 19th. “Because we’re close. We’re very close.”