“That White House is a real dump,” Trump reportedly told members of his Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, before teeing off recently. The remark was included in a lengthy Golf Magazine feature published Tuesday exploring Trump’s complicated relationship with the sport. The article also appears in the Aug. 7 issue of Sports Illustrated.
But late Wednesday, after widespread criticism for his reported comment, Trump denied calling the White House “a dump,” labeling the claim as “totally untrue.”
It’s no secret that Trump enjoys spending time away from the White House at his own resorts. He’s taken four trips to the Bedminster club since his inauguration, the feature noted. Another site tracking Trump’s leisure reports he has vacationed on 11 weekends out of the 28 in his presidency, costing taxpayers around $29 million.
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, commented that the White House — which was rebuilt in the early 1800s and has undergone regular renovations since, the most notable under the Truman administration — does show its age.
But that’s kind of the point, the former president wrote in his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope. Here’s how Obama described the first time he walked into the building as a freshman senator.
The inside of the White House doesn’t have the luminous quality that you might expect from TV or film; it seems well kept but worn, a big old house that one imagines might be a bit drafty on cold winter nights. Still, as I stood in the foyer and let my eyes wander down the corridors, it was impossible to forget the history that had been made there—John and Bobby Kennedy huddling over the Cuban missile crisis; FDR making last-minute changes to a radio address; Lincoln alone, pacing the halls and shouldering the weight of a nation.
In a May interview with Time magazine, Trump praised the White House for its “beautiful kitchen,” “amazing” phone system and “incredible” historical furniture. He patted himself on the back for appreciating it more than others might.
“You have to be a certain type of person,” Trump said as he led a tour of the house. “People have no idea the beauty of the White House. The real beauty of the White House.”
So what does Trump really think of his taxpayer-provided residence? He probably doesn’t filter himself when chatting with members of his New Jersey club, which “morphed into a kind of permanent campaign rally site” during the election, the Golf Magazine feature’s author Alan Shipnuck wrote.
“Trump is often at his most unguarded among the people who pay for their proximity to him,” the writer observed.
This article has been updated to include Trump’s tweet late Wednesday denying the “dump” comment.