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Trump's 17-day holiday causes a stir

Like many denizens of Washington DC, President Donald Trump is escaping the heat that smothers the nation's capital in August.

Why is Trump being criticised?

Mr Trump often carped about President Barack Obama's penchant for golf.

But as critics point out, Mr Trump's 17-day holiday is nearly twice as long as the one Mr Obama took in August during his first year.

If weekends are included, that means he's taking off 13 days, compared with Mr Obama's eight.

"I'm going to be working for you, I'm not going to have time to go play golf," Mr Trump told a Virginia crowd during the campaign, in a gibe at Mr Obama.

Before Mr Obama's August 2009 holiday in Martha's Vineyard, he took two other vacations that were said to entail work, including a weekend trip to Arizona and Colorado and a four-day trip to the family home in Chicago for Valentine's Day.

Donald Trump's golf hobby under scrutiny with Clinton tweet

By comparison, Mr Trump has taken 11 such "working" vacations before this month to his properties in Palm Beach, Florida, and New Jersey. He also spent a weekend in June at the government-owned presidential retreat, Camp David, Maryland.

Mr Obama was labelled a hypocrite, too, after writing in his 2008 book The Audacity of Hope that no president should take vacations.

Mr Trump told 60 Minutes in November: "There's just so much to be done, so I don't think we'll be very big on vacations, no."

Last month, he told Republican senators to cancel their holidays until lawmakers could pass a plan to overturn the health law known as Obamacare.

The bill failed to pass the Senate, and Congress has adjourned for summer recess until 5 September.

Newsweek's cover on Thursday depicted the president lounging in a reclining chair calling him a "Lazy Boy".

"Imagine how bad he'd feel if he did any work," the magazine sniped.

Some Bedminster residents are also irked by Mr Trump's extended stay at his central New Jersey property.

Protecting the president often means increased security inconveniences members of the public.

The local airport has been shut down until 20 August, grounding 110 private planes and 60 flight school students.

The Secret Service also said it would use an unmanned drone during Mr Trump's stay, with optical and infrared cameras. Roads may be closed to clear the way for the commander-in-chief's motorcade.

Is it normal for presidents to go on holiday?

The tradition of presidential vacations extends as far back as George Washington, who much preferred spending time at his Mount Vernon plantation on the Potomac River.

But the custom of controversy over presidential absences from the White House is nearly just as old.

America's national vacation problem Why Americans don't take sick days

When the capital was still Philadelphia in 1797, President John Adams was criticised for spending several months at his home in Massachusetts, where his sick wife Abigail stayed, as tensions escalated with France.

President Harry Truman preferred the palm trees of Key West, Florida, while Ronald Reagan travelled to his California ranch to ride horses, build fences and cut brush, according to Lawrence Knutson, a historian for the White House Historical Association.

Famous images show a tanned John F Kennedy at his holiday home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and George HW Bush recharged at his Walker Point residence in Kennebunkport, Maine.

President Richard Nixon split his time between his estates in Key Biscayne, Florida, and San Clemente, California.

He later came under scrutiny for funnelling millions in public funds towards security and improvements at both residences, including a floating helicopter pad in Biscayne Bay.

Why do Americans skip holiday?

The US is the only advanced nation that does not mandate paid leave, which is why the American work ethic seems a bit strange to the rest of the world.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, workers in most European countries are legally entitled to 20 days of holiday or more each year.

Australia and New Zealand also require employers to allow at least 20 vacation days annually, French employees get as many as 30 days off and Swedes enjoy five whole weeks of holiday.

In contrast, most Americans get only two weeks off, but some workers let that time off lapse out of fear of losing their jobs.

In 2016, 54% of employees ended the year with unused time off, surrendering 662 million vacation days, according to the US Travel Association's Project Time Off study.

Click to see how many vacation days other countries give

In fact, nearly a third of workers are not granted paid sick leave and more than a quarter do not have any personal time off at all, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. States such as California and New York have remedied that by requiring employers to offer paid sick leave.

Two in three US employees (66%) say they continue to work while on holiday last year, according to a report by jobs site Glassdoor.

It remains to be seen how much of Mr Trump's working vacation will be spent running the country instead of a golf cart.


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