Donald Trump has spent $90 million in taxpayer money on golfing trips in the first 11 months of his presidency, which would be enough to house roughly 5,000 homeless veterans in the United States.
Trump’s frequent trips to his company’s golf resorts have become a major point of contention for critics who point to the cost of Trump’s visits and the conflict of interest of funneling the money into his own company, from which he has not divested. Critics have often pointed to Trump’s golf trips and noted that he frequently blasted former President Barack Obama for his own golfing trips, even though Trump is on pace to make four times the number of trips that Obama did.
The website Trump Golf Count has been tracking the president’s golf visits and estimating the total cost in taxpayer dollars for the travel, security, and other various costs. The site uses statistics published by the Washington Post to estimate the total cost so far of Trump’s 79 trips to golf courses.
The cost so far — more than $90 million.
To put that number into more context, President Donald Trump’s golf trips have used the equivalent taxpayer money as programs that could house at least 5,000 homeless veterans. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that there are close to 40,000 veterans who are without a home on any given night, often because of the lingering effects of their service.
“In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks,” the organization noted. “Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.”
How much would it cost to house these veterans? While experts say there is not always a straightforward estimate to find housing for the homeless given the medical needs they may face, Philip Mangano, the former homelessness policy czar under President George W. Bush, told PolitiFact that it costs between $15,000 and $35,000 to house a homeless person for a year.
Two days after the Veterans Affairs secretary touted Trump’s support for homeless vets, his agency said it would cut funding for a major housing program serving vulnerable vets https://t.co/nbaaF9WiHj pic.twitter.com/5HQjYvawK8— POLITICO (@politico) December 6, 2017
That would mean that Donald Trump’s $90 million spent golfing could be used to house between 2,500 and 6,000 homeless people each year. Trump’s own policy toward homeless veterans has come under scrutiny after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin floated plans to cut funding for a major homelessness program, though Politico noted that he reversed course after public outcry from veteran and homeless advocacy groups.