Day 1,242: Trump has now spent one year at his properties since taking office
After a weekend at his New Jersey golf club, with a physically and mentally disturbing appearance at West Point thrown in on Satuday, Donald Trump’s visits to his own properties have hit the 365-day mark.
In office less than three-and-a-half years, Trump has managed to spend an entire one hobnobbing at properties emblazened with his name. Of that time, 269 days have spent at his golf properties, with hours on the course likely hovering around 1,000.
Every time he visits one of his properties, the U.S. taxpayer foots the bills for everything ranging from Air Force One’s exorbitant costs to motorcades to added staff. And that’s just on the federal level. State and local resources are drawn into the fray to direct traffic and provide additional security.
A good chunk of that money ends up Trump’s pocket, in a maneuver that violates the U.S. Constitution. When Trump goes to one of his properties, Secret Service stays there. If aides make the trip, they generally stay there as well. The rooms alone can cost taxpayers over $500 per night. Everyone eats and drinks and rents golf carts at the property too. All of that money flows back into the business and into Trump’s pocket. That’s to say nothing of the added exposure and increased membership fees that Trump collects by popping in as the president.
Trump’s son, Eric, defended the over $1 million in known charges — the true number is certainly far more — as a bargain for the government, missing the point entirely that Trump doesn’t have to travel to his own properties on 30% of his days in office.
“We provide the rooms at cost and could make far more money renting them to members or guests,” Eric Trump said in a statement. “To infer that we are profiting is not only inaccurate but an outright lie,” he added.
About half of the documented expenses involve the U.S. Secret Service, which has been charged more than $600,000 by various Trump properties between September 2016 and August 2019, though it’s unclear if the Secret Service has released all records of Trump-related expenses during that time. Those charges include expenses at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and his club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., charged the Secret Service about $215,000 between 2016 and 2018, according to a list of transactions that the agency released in a response to a records request. NBC News first reported those transactions.
The tab on Trump’s vacations are widely believed to be around $150 million, far more than Barack Obama racked up in eight years.
Trump has realized the respite racket. If even a fraction ends up in his pocket, he’s coming out ahead by taking a vacation. The more time away from the White House he takes, the more money he makes. So he’s taken a full year of his time and dedicated it to enriching himself while staying as far from D.C. as possible.
1,242 days in, 220 to go