The White House is maintaining silence about whether President Donald Trump played golf on Wednesday, even after photos emerged showing him on the course wearing a golf glove on one hand.
While Trump has frequently visited the golf courses he owns since taking office in January, the White House has never answered questions about whether the president has played the game on these visits. Trump is currently spending more than two weeks at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. However, the president has insisted this is not a vacation and has said he is “working hard” while the White House is undergoing renovations. A White House official described the trip as a “working vacation.”
Despite the White House’s secrecy surrounding Trump’s golf habit, evidence of the president’s games has popped up on social media with guests at his clubs posting pictures of him on the course. That happened again on Wednesday when Mike Fazio, a New Yorker who runs a staffing company, shared a pair of photos on social media on that appeared to show him standing next to Trump on a putting green.
— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 9, 2017
In Fazio’s images, Trump was wearing golf shoes, a golf glove and a red “Make America Great Again” cap. In a note he published on both Facebook and Instagram, Fazio said he played a full game of golf with the president.
“Fantastic day golfing with #45 @realdonaldtrump at Trump Bedminister [sic] today. We had an exciting match which came down to the 18th hole. I want to thank my good friend Rich Levine for setting up such an awesome day,” Fazio wrote.
As the day began, Los Angeles Times reporter Noah Bierman asked White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters about the president’s schedule. Bierman said Walters “would not reveal what he was doing, who he will be with or what he may be speaking about today” and “declined to say whether he is golfing.” After Fazio’s photos emerged, Yahoo News contacted Walters and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to ask whether Trump played golf on Wednesday. Neither Walters or Sanders responded.
Prior to his election, Trump repeatedly criticized his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for golfing and going on vacations. At a White House press briefing in March, Yahoo News asked how Trump’s golfing is different than Obama’s. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued Trump conducts meetings with his playing partners. Spicer also suggested the public shouldn’t assume Trump is playing golf every time he visits his courses.
“Just because you go somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you did it. So, on a couple occasions, he’s actually conducted meetings there. He’s actually had phone calls. So, just because he heads there doesn’t mean that that’s what’s happening,” Spicer said of Trump’s golf course visits.
In addition to the picture of him standing alone with Trump on the course, Fazio also posted a photo showing him with Trump, Levine and a third man named Ron Cohen. Levine is a longtime friend and golf buddy of Trump’s.
Levine has not responded to a request for comment from Yahoo News. After the photos began gaining widespread attention, Fazio locked his Instagram account. Fazio responded to an email asking about his time with Trump with a message saying he did not want his photos to appear in the media.
“Good Afternoon, I DO NOT give you or any media outlet permission to use my photo/photos. These are my personal photos. I have spoken to my lawyer if you need to speak to him. Thank you,” Fazio wrote.
Fazio has previously posted pictures on Instagram showing himself with Trump, standing next to the president’s helicopter and alongside Trump at the president’s annual New Year’s Eve party at his private club in Florida last December. In comments posted on these pictures, Fazio indicated Levine helped connect him with Trump.
The president isn’t the only big name Fazio posed with on social media. Fazio’s photos also include shots of himself with Sylvester Stallone, Jon Bon Jovi and the late Mob Wives star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola.
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