US President Donald Trump on Monday fumed at negative media coverage of him playing golf over Memorial Day weekend, as the US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic neared 100 000.
"The Fake and Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin!" the golf-loving president said on Twitter, noting that the game at his own course in Virginia was the first time he had played since early March.
The timing of his outing, as the nation approached a milestone in deaths from the pandemic, sparked widespread criticism in the media, with commentators recalling Trump's own past attacks on his predecessor Barack Obama for playing the game during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
"There are times to play and times that you can't play. It sends the wrong signal," Trump said at the time.
"You know when you're president you sorta say, like, 'I'm gonna give it up for a couple of years and I'm really gonna focus on the job,'" he said in 2014.
After being raked over the coals at the weekend, Trump lambasted the media as being "sick with hatred and dishonesty."
"I knew this would happen!" he said. "What they don't say is that it was my first golf in almost 3 months, and, if I waited three years, they would do their usual 'hit' pieces anyway."
The Republican leader went on to say that in 2014 Obama flew to his home state of Hawaii shortly after he had publicly denounced the beheading of American hostage James Foley by Islamic State militants.
Obama apologised for the poorly timed visit afterwards and acknowledged the gravity attached to presidential behavior at such moments.
Trump received some unexpected support from one-time Obama adviser David Axelrod.
"I don't often defend this @POTUS but I don't begrudge him a round of golf," Axelrod, now a political commentator, said on Twitter.
"Besides, it gives the rest of us a respite from those crazy tweets! Yes, it's hypocritical for @realDonaldTrump to have attacked @BarackObama for seeking some relief from the pressures of the presidency on the golf course when Trump has logged many more rounds," he said.
"It's also hypocritical to attack Trump for it now if you defended Obama then."
....3 months and, if I waited 3 years, they would do their usual “hit” pieces anyway. They are sick with hatred and dishonesty. They are truly deranged! They don’t mention Sleepy Joe’s poor work ethic, or all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
....Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint? He also played moments after the brutal killing by ISIS of a wonderful young man. Totally inappropriate - and it was me who shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. I was left a MESS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
Yes, it’s hypocritical for @realDonaldTrump to have attacked @BarackObama for seeking some relief from the pressures of the presidency on the golf course when Trump has logged many more rounds.— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 23, 2020
It’s also hypocritical to attack Trump for it now if you defended Obama then. https://t.co/c1vjuRq9E1