Reporters covering President Obama the week before Christmas have sent their dispatches from sunny Hawaii, but those covering President-elect Trump have spent their days recording the comings and goings of corporate executives, Pentagon brass and soon-to-be West Wing staffers as Trump conducts transition meetings from his Palm Beach estate heading into the holidays.
It’s just the latest sign that Trump plans to do things differently than his predecessor, whose affection for golf outings and leisurely beach trips stands in stark contrast to Trump’s known avoidance of vacations. At the same point in his own transition period, Obama was cloistered in Hawaii with his family and a handful of staff, enjoying time away from the hard work of forming a government.
“With less a month before Obama takes office on Jan. 20, he is taking every step possible to make sure this holiday is as private as possible,” read an Associated Press report from Christmas Day in 2008. “Obama and his family planned to spend their Christmas holiday mostly out of sight, an accomplishment given his two-year, high-profile marathon to win the presidency.”
Trump has showed few signs of slowing down as Christmas Day approaches. Just three days before the holiday, he unveiled five new additions to his White House staff, including Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, who will serve as his press secretary, and transition spokesman Jason Miller, who will serve as his White House communications director.
The president-elect has openly questioned the value of vacationing. In his book “Think Like a Billionaire” and on social media, Trump wrote: “Don’t take vacations. What’s the point?”
Trump, who has already pledged to avoid taking “big” vacations in office, has long been critical of Obama’s penchant for leisure.
In 2011, Trump told Fox News he thought Obama “takes more vacations than any human I’ve ever seen.”
During his presidency, Obama took seven summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. His final jaunt to the tony seaside enclave came at the height of the presidential campaign, when he took two weeks off in August. Trump and other Republicans slammed Obama that month when he refused to cut his vacation short in order to visit flood-ravaged Baton Rouge.
Hillary Clinton has also earned criticism for her vacation style.