On Wednesday, The Washington Post published an article by David A. Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey titled, "President Trump installed a room-sized golf simulator at White House."
Given the title of the piece, one could be forgiven for thinking that the president spent government money to construct a large, entirely new golf simulator at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — and some prominent Twitter users seem to be running on that track.
Manu Raju, senior congressional correspondent for CNN, sent out the following tweet about the story:
In the past several weeks, Trump hasn’t played as much golf as he’s used to – but not to worry since he’s installed a "room-sized" golf simulator at WH. The cost: $50K. Meanwhile, executive time consists of 60% of his schedule.
Raju has a Twitter following of nearly a quarter million. As of publication, the above tweet has 2,500 "likes," and has been retweeted 1,500 times.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who has a Twitter following of approximately 76,000, sent out a similar tweet about President Trump’s golf simulator:
President Trump couldn't go to Mar-a-Lago during the government shutdown, so he had a $50,000 golf video game installed at the White House, likely at the EXACT same time 800,000 federal employees were without pay. Unbelievable.
Pocan’s tweet generated much more enthusiasm, with over 19,000 "likes," and 12,400 retweets as of publication.
"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, who has a Twitter following of 18.3 million, tweeted about the simulator as well:
Trump installed a $50,000 golf simulator in the White House. Sorry Mar-a-Lago, but you should've known the president would cheat on you too.
Colbert’s tweet has 37,500 "likes," and has been retweeted more than 4,800 times as of publication.
Here’s the problem — while the above tweets seem to imply that what the president did was somehow nefarious, and that the installation of a golf simulator was a callous gesture toward the American workers affected by the shutdown, neither is true.
First, according to an anonymous official who spoke with Fahrenthold and Dawsey, the golf simulator "replaced an older, less sophisticated simulator that had been installed under President Barack Obama." Second, the president allegedly "paid for the new system and the installation personally."
This is critical information because it paints a fuller picture.
There are many Twitter users who will simply see the headline, read the tweets, and assume that while federal workers were suffering the brunt of the shutdown, an indifferent and uncaring president was using government money to play games. This would be a wildly reductive understanding of what actually happened.
The shutdown arose because President Trump and Democratic leaders reached an ideological impasse regarding the security of the southern border of the United States. The battle of ideas over border security is not a trivial one, and it continues even today as the president is allegedly prepared to sign a bill that will keep the government running, but that only includes $1.375 billion for approximately 55 miles of border fencing, reports NPR — a far cry from the $5.7 billion Trump has been demanding for the construction of a much larger border wall.
Additionally, it’s important to note that on January 16, President Trump signed legislation to provide back pay to federal employees who were affected by the partial government shutdown.
And yes, during this time, the president allegedly used his own money to upgrade an existing golf simulator in the White House. With some context, that doesn’t seem like much of a story, does it?
The Daily Wire reached out to Rep. Pocan for comment, but as of publication, we have received no reply.