Eric Trump defends president’s golf trips

Eric Trump defended his father’s frequent rounds of golf in an interview published Monday, saying the sport was a tool for the president to conduct diplomacy.

“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,” President Donald Trump’s second son told the Irish Independent newspaper when asked about the estimated 16 rounds his father has played since the inauguration. The White House does not always confirm when the president plays golf.

Eric Trump dubbed the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida “my father’s Crawford, Texas,” in reference to former President George W. Bush’s ranch.

“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 a relationship more strenuous," Eric Trump said.

Since assuming the presidency, Donald Trump has hosted world leaders including Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, at Mar-a-Lago.

The weekends in Florida have attracted criticism from opponents who say he is spending too much time on the golf course and spending too much taxpayer money to do it.