President Donald Trump’s travel to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days as president, putting him on the fast track to outspend former President Barack Obama’s spending on travel for his entire eight years. The president has spent 21 of those 80 days at his private resort.
This is the same president who has called for belt tightening and deep cuts across the federal government. Trump also regularly criticized Obama for costing the American taxpayers money every time he took a trip.
Trump’s frequent trips to Florida may end soon because the weather in the area gets too hot. Instead, he’s likely to start making trips to his penthouse apartment at Trump Tower in New York City and his private Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
It’s not just the travel costs, but the security costs that come along with it. The president and his family are an expensive first family to protect.
New York City officials have said it costs between $127,000 to $146,000 a day to protect first lady Melania Trump when she is in New York and the president is not there. That doesn’t include the extensive security costs for all of his children and grandchildren, who also travel quite a bit.
All of this is putting a major strain on Secret Service staffing. According to reports, dozens of agents from field offices across the country, including New York, have been temporarily pulled off their normal criminal investigation duties to work two-week rotations protecting members of the large Trump family.
Homeland Security plans to ask for additional funding to protect Trump and Florida officials also have asked Trump to help pay for the extra security his visits require from local law enforcement, a service that has already cost the community $1.7 million.
Voters and politicians also have started comparing Mar-a-Lago costs to federal funds that could save a program destined for the chopping block. Programs like Meals on Wheels, which make sure our senior citizens receive a healthy meal, along with a friendly visit and a safety check, could be cut.
Trump’s travel is both a budget and public relations issue. For a man who often boasts he doesn’t need vacations, he sure is taking them.
And even if some business is being conducted on his weekend jaunts, which also helps to keep his activities away from the public eye, you have to ask at what cost?
At Trump’s current pace, he will spend $99 million by the end of his first year in office. Are we OK with footing that bill?