Donald Trump’s Doral golf resort in Miami raised the price of its rooms just prior to the White House announcing that the president would be visiting the club. The cheapest room at the hotel was $254, but just before it was made public that Trump would be there, the rates for the cheapest rooms rocketed to $539, according to HuffPost.
On Thursday, Trump will speak at a Republican National Committee meeting at the resort, something that has been in the works for weeks. While the president will only be at the property for a few hours, dozens of staffers will need to join him for the event. To get the meeting up and running, government employees will likely stay at the resort in advance and during the event. Paying for these rooms — which have an increased rate — means that taxpayer costs for the visit could be increased.
The inflated room cost falls just under the maximum amount federal employees can spend for a room in the Miami area. It’s triple the per diem rate that employees should aim for. During early January — before the announcement that Trump would be there — rooms were being sold for $254 during the days of the RNC meeting. After the White House began preparing for Trump’s visit however, the rates jumped on January 14 to $539 a night for the same timeframe.
The White House didn’t reveal how much Trump’s advance team will pay for the visit, nor did they reveal how many staffers would be brought out for the event. The Doral resort staffers also declined to reveal how much federal employees are being charged for the stay. The Trump Organization, which owns the resort, also refused to give details on the number of staffers that would be staying at the resort and how much they would be charged.
“For operational security reasons, the Secret Service does not discuss our protectees or our protective means and methods. This includes personnel numbers associated with a particular protective visit,” a spokesperson for the Secret Service said.
Trump has been accused of using his office as president to line his pockets on numerous occasions in the past. He has also been accused of raising the price that taxpayers have to pay for his travel because he wants to visit his properties.
“What better way to defend yourself in an impeachment trial over abuse of power than to jet to your private golf resort on the public dime, secure lots of publicity for the club on the public dime, and then, possibly, rip off taxpayers by forcing them to pay extra for the staff whose costs at the resort are billed to ‘we the people,'” Robert Weissman, president of a government watchdog group said.