Donald Trump spent many years criticizing President Barack Obama for—among other things—spending too much taxpayer money on golfing trips (opens in new tab), vacations (opens in new tab), and presidential travel on Air Force One. But according to a new report in The Washington Post (opens in new tab), Trump's travel during his first month in office has likely cost as much as Obama spent on travel in an average year.
Trump's three consecutive weekend trips (opens in new tab) to his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida alone "probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel," explains the Post. Meanwhile, a Judicial Watch (opens in new tab) report from December put Obama's total travel costs over eight years at just under $97 million.
The costs of Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips include enlisting the Coast Guard to patrol the exposed shoreline, and other security, military, and staffing expenses incurred by moving Trump and his presidential apparatus to the so-called winter White House. This, presumably, is why most presidents content themselves with one year-round White House.
Another estimated $1.3 million was spent on Secret Service protection for Trump's sons Eric and Donald Jr. during overseas business trips. That brings the month's total to an estimated $11.3 million, just short of the $12.1 million average that Obama spent on travel in a year.
The costs of the first family's "unusually elaborate lifestyle" don't stop with Florida—New York City is paying $500,000 a day to guard Trump Tower, where Melania Trump and her son Barron now live. High security and travel costs have also been incurred by Trump's sons taking business trips abroad—Eric Trump's recent trip to Uruguay cost the Secret Service and US Embassy roughly $100,000.
And that's not even getting into the moral costs of having sensitive, potentially classified presidential business carried out in front of paying guests (opens in new tab) at Mar-a-Lago.
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Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.
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