It would appear that President Trump continues to live the luxurious life of a billionaire when it comes to his travel spending. As Newsweek reported, Trump’s unprecedented first-year travel expenses are now projected to exceed those made by former president Obama over the course of his two terms.
“The Trumps are set to become the most expensive first family in history if they don’t immediately begin reducing their lavish spending habits and frequent trips across the globe – and taxpayers are set to continue picking up the tab for as long as they keep it up.”
Trump’s extensive travel is an evolution in previous statements he made on the subject. Back in 2015, when Trump was campaigning, he famously quipped that he would “rarely leave the White House” once elected president.
Trump in 2015: “I'd rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president that takes time off" https://t.co/aAJ5VgVZte
— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) April 11, 2017
In 2012, Trump extolled the apparent billionaire’s virtue of never taking a vacation.
"Don't take vacations. What's the point? If you're not enjoying your work, you're in the wrong job." — Think Like A Billionaire
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2012
The bulk of President Trump’s travel spending comes from his frequent excursions to his Florida estate and golf club, Mar-a-Lago. Dubbed “The Southern White House” by Trump, Mar-a-Lago has become a symbol to Democratic lawmakers of the president’s ethical lapses and his pursuit of monetary gain above all else.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) April 15, 2017
A breakdown of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago-related expenses shows that security costs alone are almost $4 million. Flights from Joint Base Andrews to West Palm, Florida, are $700,000, and local law enforcement for the area around the estate are $60,000 a day.
President Trump is again at Trump International Golf Club in FL, per pool. It is his 17th golf course trip since taking office 12 weeks ago.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 14, 2017
The president’s expensive travel spending has become a hot topic at town halls for Republican congressional leaders. For instance, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake claimed that he couldn’t criticize Trump’s travel spending because he is the president. This response was predictably met with a brutal chorus of boos from the town hall audience.
Another reason for the increase in travel spending for the new administration is first lady Melania Trump’s current living arrangements, which find her staying primarily at the Trump Towers in New York City where son Barron attends an elite private school. City officials have said it costs over $100,000 a day to provide security detail for the first lady. Also, her flights to Mar-a-Lago to join the president reportedly costs an additional $100,000.
In light of the reported net worth of the Trumps, over 500,000 people signed a petition requesting that the first lady pays out-of-pocket for the expenses associated with her security detail.
Taxpayers are also footing the bill for President Trump’s children, who frequently travel both domestically and internationally with Secret Service. Some new expenses include Eric Trump’s limousine service during a trip to Dublin which totaled $4,029.85. According to CBS News, both Eric and Donald Trump’s travel costs are near $200,000 since January 1.
Though Republican lawmakers have been silent about Trump’s travel spending, several key Democrats are criticizing the president for both his excess and his perceived hypocrisy.
Trump golfing vs. other presidents pic.twitter.com/T3AYfvaWaY
— Millennial Democrats (@Millennial_Dems) April 15, 2017
Throughout the president’s first 100 days in office, the press has snapped shots of Trump on the golf course. An avid golfer prior to taking office, Trump’s continued time on the links is a reminder to many that he spent years leveling criticism at former president Obama for his recreational activities.
Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
Elijah Cummings, a Democratic representative and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sharply criticized the mounting travel costs of the Trump family when speaking with CBS News.
“The Trump family’s frequent travel to international destinations purely to promote the Trump family business is burning through taxpayer dollars at an unprecedented rate and stretching the Secret Service increasingly thin.”
As controversy grows over the president’s travel expenses, the Government Accountability Office is now working on compiling an extensive report that will detail taxpayer costs for the Trump clan.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]