Donald Trump made a bold promise just days after being elected president — he wouldn’t be taking any vacations.
Now, less than four weeks into his actual term as president, Trump is already headed to his third trip away from the White House.
Donald Trump plans to head to his Florida resort, Mar-A-Lago, for the February 17 weekend, Think Progress reported. The trip has caused controversy and calls of hypocrisy against Trump for his dogged criticism of President Barack Obama’s vacation time.
Trump was clear with his pledge just after winning. In his first major interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Trump said he would take only a $1 salary as president and vowed not to take any vacations.
“We have so much work. There’s so much work to be done. And I want to get it done for the people,” he said (via the Indian Express).
“I want to get it done. We’re lowering taxes, we’re taking care of health care. I mean, there’s just so much to be done. So I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations, no.”
It wasn’t just a one-off statement. Trump had reiterated throughout his campaign that he couldn’t even see himself leaving the White House with all the important work that needed to be done.
“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,” Trump told a reporter in 2015 (via Think Progress).
“I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off… You don’t have time to take time off.”
Trump’s proximity to the general public at Mar-A-Lago and the lack of security measures in place at the White House has raised controversy. Last week, when Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Florida resort, the visit was interrupted by an unexpected missile launch from North Korea.
Trump and Abe reviewed classified documents about the launch on a public terrace at the resort while other patrons sat just feet away, some of them snapping pictures. When the men had difficulty reading the documents, presidential aides turned on lights on their cell phones to read the document.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) February 14, 2017
It was an incident that generated widespread criticism.
“Hosting a foreign leader at the president’s business resort creates impossible sets of conflicts,” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, told the Orlando Sentinel.
“If the president hadn’t offered to pay, the U.S. government would be paying Donald Trump’s business for the purpose of hosting the Japanese leader.”
There are also critics who say that Donald Trump benefits personally from the visits to Mar-A-Lago. Trump has refused to divest from his businesses, instead turning over control to his adult children, and still benefits from his properties. And just this year, the membership fees at Mar-A-Lago were doubled to $200,000.
Donald Trump’s regular vacations are also controversial given his own history of criticizing Barack Obama. Long before Trump pledged that he would take no vacations, he was regularly hitting then-President Obama about his trips.
“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 milion +++ while there is 20% unemployment,” Trump wrote on Twitter in December 2011, a time when Politico noted that unemployment was at 8.5 percent.
Trump is planning to return to Mar-a-Lago (again) on February 17th, the 3rd straight weekend. Each visit costs taxpayers $3+ million. https://t.co/A365KknYL1
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 13, 2017
Later that July, Trump took aim at Michelle Obama.
“With 15% US real unemployment and a 16T debt, @Michelle Obama’s luxurious Aspen vacation – her 16th – cost us over $1M.”
Donald Trump’s weekly vacations to Mar-A-Lago cost taxpayers $3 million each, Politico reported.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]