Donald Trump has spent an estimated $102 million in taxpayer money on golf so far in his presidency, a figure that is substantially higher than the earnings over the same time frame of Tiger Woods, the world’s highest-paid professional golfer, Above the Law reports.
While golf is, of course, an expensive hobby to begin with, the costs quickly compound when you factor in not only the president’s purported affinity for high-end luxury but also the costly logistics of transporting and protecting a sitting president.
“[U]nlike most of the generally well-to-do golfing public, Trump has the luxury of flying a private plane, whenever he wants, to his own golf course at taxpayer expense,” writes Jonathan Wolf for Above the Law. “Then, every time Trump visits Mar-a-Lago, there’s the $57,000 it costs all of us for Marine One helicopter flights, the $800,000 it costs to transport seven-ton presidential limousines and other vehicles, and the $855,000 we have to pay for the U.S. Coast Guard to implement special coastal patrols near Trump’s golf course when he is in town.”
The cost of golf carts alone, according to an analysis by Quartz, has totaled almost half a million dollars since the inauguration. The Secret Service in their budget for the upcoming summer has earmarked $92,250 for golf carts at the Trump International Golf Club. This figure is merely an estimate, as last year total costs ran about $120,000 after being budgeted at just $60,000.
President Trump just gave Tiger Woods the Medal of Freedom. Woods designed the course at Trump World Golf Club Dubai, which is managed by the Trump Organization and is scheduled to open this year. He heralded the site in a recent issue of Trump magazine. https://t.co/d9CH1vWOo4
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 8, 2019
A portion of the overall golfing costs are ultimately paid to Trump-owned properties, raising additional ethics concerns about the potential for the president to personally benefit from the taxpayer money being spent on his behalf.
Despite statements during the campaign that he would not have time to play golf if elected, Trump has golfed 178 times since taking office, an overall average in excess of once per week.
Trump was also a frequent critic of President Barack Obama’s golfing habits, taking frequently to Twitter to criticize the then-president for hitting the links too frequently. By contrast, Obama had golfed 70 times during the same time frame in which Trump reached the mark of 178. Obama typically golfed at nearby Andrews Air Force Base, helping to keep costs much lower than what is being spent currently. In fact, in the entire eight years of his presidency, Obama spent less than $30 million on out-of-town golf expenses.
Meanwhile, others close to Trump, namely Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have reportedly drawn attention for their own expensive golf habits, again likely funded with taxpayer dollars. The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a records request to learn the costs to taxpayers associated with recent trips to Trump properties in Scotland.