Following his first month in office, it’d be easy to assume that President Trump has spent more time away from the White House than he has in it. That’s because the new president has already taken three vacations to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, despite only being in office for little over a month.
While nobody is denying that the holder of arguably the most stressful office on earth deserves a break, Trump’s numerous breaks are coming at a huge expense to the taxpayer. According to the Washington Post, in the space of just one month, it’s estimated that Trump’s three trips to Mar-a-Lago — which he has dubbed the “winter White House” — have cost the taxpayer a total of $10 million. While the president has to pay the taxpayer back for his family’s travel and lodging, taxpayers still have to foot the bill for the president’s staff and security.
In comparison, according to Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, President Obama’s travel costs over the course of eight years in office, totaled about $97 million. With that in mind, if Trump continues to vacation at his current pace, he’ll have comfortably outspent President Obama in just one year in office.
What’s more, before he himself was president, Donald Trump was vocal in criticizing President Obama’s travel plans and shortly after his election, he confirmed his own travel plans, saying, “I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations, no.”
Why is @BarackObama always campaigning or on vacation?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2011
Despite evidently being both a hypocrite and liar, the bigger issue still remains that the American people didn’t elect Donald Trump to enjoy vacations at the taxpayer’s expense. According to BBC News, ahead of his election, Trump boldly claimed that he wouldn’t take his $400,000 a year salary in order to save the taxpayer money. However, in just one month in office, Trump’s three vacations have cost the taxpayer more money than his salary would have done over the course of his four years in office.
The situation gets even worse when you consider that the aforementioned $10 million for Trump’s travel expenses doesn’t factor in other costs, like his son’s recent trip to the United Arab Emirates to open a new golf club for his father, which would require an expensive security operation of its own.
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Taxpayers aren’t the only ones footing the bill for Trump’s vacations either. When the president is in residence at Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach area becomes an area of temporary flight restrictions, affecting flights and air operations severely within a 30 nautical mile radius. According to the Chicago Tribune, by the third weekend in February, nearby Palm Beach County Park Airport had been shut down for three consecutive weekends, accumulating significant financial losses for multiple businesses.
Ahead of his election, Donald Trump promised to fix the country’s broken economy and get it working for ordinary middle-class citizens again. However, Trump’s excessive vacations have done nothing but take from the pocket of those ordinary middle-class citizens that he promised to help, especially those trying to make a living in Palm Beach.
Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, but it’s hard to believe that Trump’s Democratic rival would have even left the White House during her first month in office. The same applies to Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who spent less on travel in one year than the newly elected president has done over the course of just one month.
Donald Trump wasn’t elected to enjoy vacations at the taxpayer’s expense, so it’s time he either foots the bill himself or gets back to work.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]