President Donald Trump has come under fire from some outlets for the frequency with which he has hit the links since moving into the Oval Office. But according to one of his sons, the golf course is simply another tool in the president's arsenal.
Trump has made 16 documented trips to golf courses since becoming president on Jan. 20. Eric Trump is the Commander-in-Chief's second-oldest son, and he defended his father's frequent play in a wide-ranging interview with the Irish Independent.
"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 in a way that you could never do sitting across an office table from someone," Trump said.
Trump views his father's frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago in South Florida as a diplomatic tool and compared the resort to the ranch in Crawford, Texas where George W. Bush often spent time during his presidency.
"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 wooden partition, which instantly makes the relationship more strenuous," Trump said. "If he can befriend people and find common respect, common ground and friendship - if you can have a good time together - then you are always going to see somebody in a very different light."
Trump also came to the defense of Rory McIlroy, who received criticism for playing a round of golf with President Trump earlier this year and said at the Masters that he would "think twice" about accepting the invitation to play based on the subsequent backlash.
"Rory is an amazing guy. He has been a great friend," Trump said. "We have gotten to know him very, very well over the years. And, by the way, he has been an amazing ambassador for Irish golf and he has done a lot for charities in Ireland. He's just a good guy."