President Trump trash-talked the White House to members of his ritzy private golf club in New Jersey, calling the presidential mansion "a real dump," according to a report published online Tuesday and denied by the president the following day.
The quote was included in a forthcoming Sports Illustrated profile of the president and his deep connection to golf, from his putting style to his interaction with club members of his private clubs who pony-up around $250,000 in initiation fees.
"That White House is a real dump," he reportedly told members during a recent round of golf, explaining his frequent appearances.
From the border wall to his real estate deals, Trump has never been shy about demanding or boasting that the structures associated with him are the best. But his reported remarks on the White House could be seen as an out-of-touch critique of the presidential mansion from a president who has touted himself as the advocate for middle-class America.
The White House did not comment on the claim Wednesday but the president responded to the allegation on Twitter, stating flatly it was, "TOTALLY UNTRUE."
Sports Illustrated spoke with several people who have teed up with Trump over the years for the golf-oriented profile of a president who not only loves the sport but owns several courses.
In the article, which will run in the magazine's Aug. 7 issue, writer Alan Shipnuck does not mention exactly when, or to who, the comment was made to, but in a follow up podcast with Golf.com, he said he was told about Trump's comments by a member of the club who was present at the time, and who he described as an "extremely credible source."
"It was a moment of candor and someone who was part of that conversation related it to me," Shipnuck said.
The comment was made during Trump's first visit to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster after being elected president. He reportedly said it in front of, "eight or nine members and staffers at Bedminster."
During the US Women's Open in July, the journalist said he was told the same story by "two or three other sources."
The White House denied the incident happened, but Shipnuck stuck by his reporting saying, "Of course it did take place."
According to NBC News, which has been keeping track of the president's golf play and frequent stays at his clubs, Trump has spent 58 days of his almost 200 days as president at Trump properties, frequently traveling there on the weekends.
Mar-a-Lago, the president's Florida resort, appears to be Trump's favorite, with him spending 25 days there since the beginning of his administration. But the president has also spent 14 days at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to the NBC count.
Trump was at his Bedminster club during the US Women's Open Golf tournament in July, and according to the Sports Illustrated article, the Secret Service has also established a perimeter around a cottage near the pool of the property where president often stays during his visits.
It was there that, according to Sports Illustrated, he told members of the club why he often still visits his golf course properties.
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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