Melania Trump has apparently had enough of an empty Washington, D.C., retreating to the Mar-a-Lago resort and taking her now-unpaid Secret Service agents with her.
As the government shutdown now reaches one week with no end in sight, the first lady left Washington to go back to her son at the luxury Florida resort owned by her husband. As CBS 12 reported, Melania flew back to Palm Beach County on Thursday after returning from a surprise trip to Iraq to visit U.S. troops stationed here.
“Mrs. Trump is going back to Florida to be with her son,” said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications.
Melania had already left for Mar-a-Lago when the government shutdown began at the stroke of midnight on Saturday, and returned back to Washington to be with her husband for Christmas. Her return to Mar-a-Lago comes with some controversy as the Secret Service agents assigned with guarding her are now working without pay as part of the thousands of federal employees deemed “essential” who have to work without pay for as long as the shutdown will last.
As the Huffington Post noted, that could be quite a while.
“Trump said he is prepared to carry out a ‘very long’ shutdown to secure $5 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S. southern border that he had insisted Mexico was supposed to pay for,” the report noted. “Although Republicans still control both the House and Senate, they don’t have enough votes for a deal on wall funding without Democrats.”
Melania Trump is not the only one facing criticism for retreating to a tropical vacation spot during the government shutdown. Ivanka Trump and husband, Jared Kushner, also traveled to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas, which prompted criticism from Walter Schaub, who was director of the United States Office of Government Ethics under Barack Obama.
President Trump isn't traveling Friday because of a looming government shutdown, but first lady Melania Trump is on her way to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays https://t.co/MvsP21ByTz pic.twitter.com/zOMljoWSHi— CNN (@CNN) December 21, 2018
“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner traveling during the Trump shutdown means Secret Service agents who are not currently receiving paychecks missed Christmas with their families so they could escort wealthy nepotists with no conception of public service,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner traveling during the Trump shutdown means Secret Service agents who are not currently receiving paychecks missed Christmas with their families so they could escort wealthy nepotists with no conception of public service. https://t.co/n2Elabfb5g— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 26, 2018
It was not clear how long Melania Trump planned to stay a Mar-a-Lago, but before the government shutdown began, there were reports that Donald Trump was planning a 16-day vacation to his luxury resort, taking him through the first week of January. Trump has vowed to remain in Washington during the shutdown, which has no end in sight as both Democrats and Donald Trump have not budged from their stances.